ORLANDO, Fla. – A witness who saw a murder suspect fatally gun down an Orlando police officer Monday morning described the moments immediately after the shooting and before her death.
Brian Striby, who was working maintenance outside the Walmart on Princeton Street at John Young Parkway where the shooting happened, said he was picking up trash when he heard a voice yelling "stop, stop, stop."
As he walked toward the commotion, he saw Markeith Loyd, 41, attempting to evade Master Sgt. Debra Clayton. Striby said Loyd starting firing his gun when he realized he wouldn't be able to get around Clayton, a 17-year Orlando Police Department veteran and a University of Central Florid alumna.
"She backs up to where she has no cover and starts firing back, but she was being more accurate or trying to be more precise with the shots because he is just firing wildly into the crowd," Striby said.
Striby said Loyd shot the 42-year-old mother several times, then left the area. That's when Striby approached Clayton trying to help, but he was unsure of what to do to save the officer.
Instead, he tried to reassure her in what turned out to be her final moments.
"Please don't die, stay with me ma'am, stay with us," Striby told Clayton as she laid outside the Walmart. "You know the cops, they are almost here, they are on the way, they are on their way."
He thinks Clayton was trying to say something but didn't have the strength.
Orlando Police Chief John Mina said during a news conference that officers arrived on the scene within 28 seconds.
The search for Loyd began after Clayton radioed in at 7:17 a.m. saying she had spotted the man accused of killing his pregnant ex-girlfriend, Sade Dixon, in Pine Hills in December.
Hundreds of law enforcement officers swarmed Central Florida as the manhunt spanned more than 12 hours, through the morning and into the night. Loyd has not been located, but Mina said he's confident authorities will make an arrest soon.
Striby told News 6 that "nobody deserves to die like that" and he hopes to see Loyd taken into custody.
"I do have a new appreciation for (police) and how hard it is and how dangerous it can be ... this guy needs to be caught," he said.
The search for Loyd claimed two lives Monday. An Orange County deputy who was responding when the manhunt began was fatally struck by a van while he was on his motorcycle.
More information on the efforts to locate Loyd can be found here.