Funerals set for slain Orlando officer, deputy; manhunt continues

Hundreds of officers search for Markeith Loyd

ORLANDO, Fla. – A massive manhunt continues Tuesday after an Orlando police officer was shot and killed, and an Orange County sheriff's deputy died in a crash as he helped search for the gunman.

[MORE: What we know about Clayton | Latest updates in the search for murder suspect Markeith Loyd]

The fugitive, identified at Markeith Loyd, is considered "armed and extremely dangerous."

Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings told News 6 Tuesday morning that it's believed that Loyd is still in the Orlando area. Demings said authorities are not necessarily focused on a specific location, but he assured the public that Loyd will be found. 

A SWAT team searched a Lake County home on Tuesday, but Loyd was not found, authorities said. The search was conducted because of a tip, officials said.

Hundreds of law enforcement officers have been hunting for him since Orlando police Master Sgt. Debra Clayton, 42, was shot Monday outside the Walmart at Princeton Street and John Young Parkway.

Clayton had received word Monday morning that Loyd, who is also a suspect in the slaying of his pregnant ex-girlfriend, was near the store. She chased after him and was fatally shot, police said.

Clayton's funeral will be held Saturday, Orlando police said.  Pastor Derrick McRae of The Experience Christian Center in Pine Hills said the funeral is scheduled for 2 p.m. at at First Baptist Orlando.

Loyd fled the scene, shot at a sheriff's deputy, who was not injured, and carjacked a driver, triggering an intense manhunt that included door-to-door searches in apartment complexes.

Dozens of schools were placed on lockdown until Monday afternoon.

The deputy who died in the crash was identified as Orange County sheriff's Deputy First Class Norman Lewis.

His funeral will be held at 11 a.m. Friday at First Baptist Orlando.

With two officers dead and a suspect at large, police have vowed to find Loyd. A $100,000 reward is being offered for information leading to his arrest.

"I'm confident we will find him," said Orlando police Chief John Mina. "It doesn't matter where he is. We will track him down to the ends of the Earth to find him."

The pursuit

Loyd ditched the vehicle he carjacked and ran into an apartment complex, Mina said.

Residents were urged to stay inside. Mina said officers searched "dozens of apartments and residences."

"I believe there have been people out there helping him all along," he said. "If we find out about those people, we will criminally charge them."

He said Loyd would be charged with first-degree murder of a law enforcement officer and attempted murder of the deputy he fired at.

Many officers in the area joined the effort to find Loyd. Among them was Lewis, who was on a motorcycle.

"A motorist turned in front of him," Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings said. "Based on eyewitness testimony, he had a green light, he was not traveling at any (high) rate of speed."

Lewis had worked 11 years with the sheriff's department.

"To lose two law enforcement officers on this Law Enforcement Officer Appreciation Day is indeed a tragedy," the sheriff said.

The department is mourning Lewis, but there is also a suspect on the loose.

"While we're processing our own emotional feelings, we still have a job to do," Demings said.

'He shot her down'

The shooting happened early Monday morning after Clayton had received word that Loyd was in the area near a local Walmart. She radioed at 7:17 a.m. to say she was trying to contact a murder suspect.

Loyd was wanted in the December 13 fatal shooting of Sade Dixon, 24, his pregnant girlfriend.

Clayton tried to stop Loyd and briefly chased the suspect on foot, said the Orlando police chief.

"As soon as she said stop, he basically opened fire on her," Mina said.

A witness outside the Walmart described a similar scene.

Clayton returned fire but investigators don't think she struck the gunman, Mina said.

Mina said Loyd was wearing a T-shirt that said "security," but added that he is not a security guard.

Colleagues mourn death of veteran officer

Mina said his department is grieving the death of Clayton, a 17-year veteran.

"I've known Debra for 17 years. She was extremely committed to our youth and the community. She did so many different projects in the community.

"She organized several marches against violence by herself," the police chief said.

Retired Orlando police officer Renita Osselyn said she and Clayton bonded over their dedication to area youths.

"I believe that the department is at it's best because her footsteps have been implanted in our community." Osselyn said. "She touched a lot of lives and I salute her, job well done."

Clayton was married and the mother of a college-aged son.

Clayton's death marks the first fatal shooting of a law enforcement officer in the United States in 2017, said Steve Groeninger of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.

Clayton and Lewis are the second and third on-duty law enforcement officers to die in 2017.

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About the Author:

Daniel started with WKMG-TV in 2000 and became the digital content manager in 2009. When he's not working on, Daniel likes to head to the beach or find a sporting event nearby.