Orlando officer dead, Orange deputy dies amid shooting manhunt

By News 13 Team Coverage,
Last Updated: Tuesday, January 10, 2017, 8:51 AM EST

An Orlando Police officer was shot and killed during the search for a homicide suspect early Monday, and a motorcycle deputy who was struck by a van during the manhunt has also died.

The manhunt continues for Markeith Loyd, who was also being sought in connection to the December shooting death of his pregnant ex-girlfriend, Orlando Police said.

Although there is a decreased police presence at a Rosemont-area apartment complex, SWAT and other law enforcement officers are still going apartment to apartment, as they have through much of the day. Officers were seen boarding up one of the apartments Monday evening. A crime scene van also pulled up. 

A reward of up to $60,000 is being offered for information leading to Loyd's arrest. Call Crimeline at 1-800-423-TIPS (8477). Callers can remain anonymous.

The latest

On Tuesday morning, the police department tweeted a link to an official GoFundMe page for the fallen officer and her patrol vehicle was put in a place of honor in front of the Orlando Police Department Headquarters.

Orlando Police Master Sgt. Debra Clayton was shot at the Wal-Mart at 3101 West Princeton St. on Monday morning. She was taken to Orlando Regional Medical Center, where she died, Orlando Police said.

At a Monday afternoon, news conference, Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings said several hundred law enforcement officials are looking for Loyd and urged him turn himself in.

The search is centered on Brookside Apartments on Cinderlane Parkway in Orlando, where people and vehicles continue to be turned away around the area as the manhunt goes on.

Orlando Police teams have searched hundreds of apartments at the complex, Orlando Police Chief John Mina said. SWAT team members are at the scene — we will not reveal any of their tactical locations for their safety.

Officers were seen boarding up one of the apartments Monday evening.

"We're not going anywhere. If we don't have this individual by nightfall, we're not going anywhere," Demings said. "We will work with anyone to bring him to justice... Otherwise, this is going to be a very risky operation for all of us."

Earlier Monday — which also marked Law Enforcement Appreciation Day — Orlando Police Chief John Mina praised Clayton, 42, a 17-year veteran of the force.

"Debra Clayton is a hero and she gave her life protecting the community that she loves. She will be deeply missed," Mina said. "We are giving everything her husband needs... She is married with children," he said.

City Commissioner of District 5 Regina Hill expressed horror and grief over the death of Clayton, whom Hill said was her liaison with the police department.

"Oh God!!!! Please pray for my OPD Liaison, She's been shot down in Pine Hills," she posted about Clayton.

Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer declared a day of mourning in the City of Orlando following the deaths in the line of duty of Clayton and the deputy. Gov. Rick Scott, who was in town for unrelated events, attended Monday's news conference.

Loyd, 41, was already being sought by Orange County deputies in connection with the December shooting death of his pregnant ex-girlfriend, Sade Dixon, 24, who was shot dead at her home. Her brother, Ronald Steward, was also shot and hospitalized. Loyd has had several drug, battery and robbery charges against him. In the some of the cases, he was found guilty; others have been dismissed.

Orlando Police said Clayton was trying to contact a murder suspect at the Wal-Mart just after 7 a.m. Monday when she was shot. She returned fire, according to Mina, but Loyd was not thought to be struck.

After the shooting of Clayton at the Wal-Mart, an Orange County Sheriff's Office deputy spotted Loyd fleeing in a vehicle at North Lane and Pine Hills Drive. When Loyd pulled into a nearby apartment complex, he allegedly shot at the deputy and also struck his unmarked Sheriff's Office vehicle twice, officials said. 

Pine Hills resident Jamie Keen was taking her two children to school and says she saw the whole thing.

I was literally right behind the officer's car,” she explained. If he would have missed that car he could have definitely could have hit our vehicle or some of us in the car."

The deputy was unharmed.

Loyd then carjacked a vehicle and fled again, Orlando Police said. He reportedly abandoned that vehicle near the intersection of Rosemont and Cinderlane Parkway, where the manhunt was centered.

Keen says enough is enough.

"Stop the gun violence to be honest, this is out of control,” Keen said. "etween our youths and our kids and I have two young, young boys. This is not something I wanted them to see."

Several hours into the manhunt, Crimeline raised the reward for information leading to the arrest of Loyd to $60,000. Call Crimeline at 1-800-423-TIPS (8477). Callers can remain anonymous.

Gov. Rick Scott, who attended Monday morning's news conference, issued this statement:

“I am heartbroken and angered to hear of the shooting and death of Master Sgt. Debra Clayton this morning. I am also saddened by the death of an Orange County Sheriff’s Deputy who tragically lost his life in a vehicle accident while responding to this morning’s shooting. My wife Ann and I join Floridians across the state in praying for these officers and their families during this unimaginable time.

"I proclaimed this week as First Responder Appreciation week, and on the first day of it today, this tragic shooting serves as a sobering reminder of how important it is for each one of us to take every opportunity to thank these heroes for their service and sacrifice.”

Officials described Loyd as armed and dangerous and warned the public not to approach him but to call 911.

“It doesn’t matter where he goes, we will track him down to the end of the earth," Mina said Monday.

“We’re bringing this dirt bag to justice and he’s going to jail."

The Walmart was closed through much of the day, reopening in the afternoon. The story is making counselors available for associates, as needed.

Walmart released this statement Monday:

"We're heartbroken by the Orlando police officer's and Orange County deputy's passing. Our thoughts and prayers are with their families and with both departments for their losses."

The last time an Orlando Police officer was killed in the line of duty was Oct. 4, 2007, according to Orlando Police, when Officer Al Gordon was gunned down in a robbery near an ATM at Silver Star and North Hiawassee roads.

Orange County deputy dies, another hurt

Meanwhile, an Orange County motorcycle deputy involved in the manhunt collided with a minivan on Balboa Drive and Pine Hills Road and was taken to ORMC in critical condition, according to troopers. Deputy Norman Lewis, 35, from Orlando, died at ORMC, according to FHP Sgt. Kim Montes and the Sheriff's Office.

The minivan, driven by 78-year-old Billie Jarrard of Clermont, pulled directly into the deputy's path, and charges are pending against the minivan's driver, Montes said.

Sean Manuel, a witness to the Balboa Drive crash, said he and some men were passing by at about 9:30 a.m. when the motor deputy approached. He said they pulled over their vehicle to let Lewis pass, but just minutes later, they saw him lying in the road.

That's when they jumped out to try to help.

"He didn't say anything; he was mostly unconscious," Manuel said. "He then came back and squeezed my hand, but his hand was already getting cold."

At the news conference Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings praised Lewis, whose identity was not released until late Monday.

"We also lost a hero today," Demings said. "In my 36-year career, this has been one of the toughest days. ... To lose two law enforcement officers on Law Enforcement Appreciation Day is a tragedy."

Troopers are investigating the crash, including whether Loyd could face any charges in Lewis' death.

Just 20 minutes after the fatal deputy crash on Balboa Drive, a second motor deputy responding to the first deputy's crash was himself injured in a crash, troopers said. According to the FHP, a 2006 Chevrolet Impala driven by Jerry Lewis Brown, 36, of Orlando made a U-turn in the path of Deputy Nelson Borjas's motorcycle on Pine Hills Road just north of Balboa Drive. Brown was arrested on charges of driving with a suspended license. Borjas was taken to ORMC with minor injuries.

A third motorcycle officer, from Orlando Police, was injured in yet a separate crash. That officer had minor injuries and is expected to be OK, Mina said.

Road closures

Several major roadways were shut down near rush hour as law enforcement officers search for the man wanted in connection to the police officer shooting.

Cinderlane Parkway from Lake Orlando Parkway to Orange Blossom Trail was still closed Monday afternoon, where a massive apartment complex search for the suspect continues.

Orange Blossom Trail northbound and Pine Hills Road near Balboa Drive were closed earlier for investigations but have reopened.

Follow News 13 traffic reporter Ryan Harper on Twitter for the most up-to-date information on road closures.

Schools locked down

3 p.m. update: Lockdowns have been lifted at all Orange County public schools. For private and charter schools, check with your school administration.

Numerous schools near the Wal-Mart were placed on lockdown because of law enforcement activity. Students and staff are safe, Orange County Public Schools spokeswoman Lorena Hitchcock said.

Those schools, both public, private and charter, were:

  • Evans High School
  • Pine Hills Elementary School
  • Meadowbrook Middle School
  • Positive Pathways
  • Orange Center
  • Rolling Hills Elementary School
  • Rosemont Elementary
  • Princeton House Charter School
  • Aspire Academy
  • Paragon Private School
  • Pinewood Elementary School
  • Innovations
  • Kids Community College
  • Lucious & Emma Nixon Academy
  • Nap Ford Community School
  • Oasis
  • Orlando Science Charter School
  • UCP Pine Hills
  • Dream Big Preschool Academy
  • St. Andrew Catholic School
  • Resurrection Catholic Preschool
  • Robinswood Middle School
  • Gateway School
  • Pine Hills Elementary School
  • Lockhart Middle School
  • Lockhart Elementary School
  • Acceleration Academy West
  • Orange Virtual School
  • Lake Silver Elementary
  • Esteem Academy
  • Oak Hill Elementary School