Orlando police officer fatally shot, manhunt for suspect

Reuters News
Posted: Jan 09, 2017 1:35 PM

(Reuters) - A man wanted for killing his former girlfriend fatally shot an Orlando, Florida, police officer on Monday, authorities said, prompting a manhunt and causing area schools to be put on lockdown as a precaution.

Law enforcement officials were searching for a suspect identified as Markeith Loyd, 41, who was considered armed and dangerous.

"We are bringing this dirt bag to justice," Orlando Police Chief John Mina said at a news conference.

The slain officer, identified as Master Sergeant Debra Clayton, was responding to a reported sighting of the suspect.

Loyd fled the shooting scene outside a Walmart and fired at a deputy who tried to the stop him, authorities said. The deputy was unharmed.

An Orange County deputy taking part in the manhunt also was killed on Monday when a vehicle struck the deputy's motorcycle, the sheriff's office said.

Authorities have been trying to capture Loyd in connection with the December murder of a pregnant woman, the Orange County Sheriff's office said.

According to online jail record, Loyd also had been booked in October in Orange County on charges including burglary, attempted carjacking and violation of a pretrial release.

Clayton, a 17-year veteran of the Orlando Police Department, died at a hospital, the department said.

"The Orlando Police Department family is heartbroken today," the department said on its Twitter feed, which also showed a video of officers escorting a U.S. flag-draped gurney. "One of our own was taken in the line of duty. There are no words."

Orange County Public Schools said in a tweet 17 schools had been placed on lockdown, adding: "All students & staff are safe."

(Reporting by Jon Herskovitz; Editing by Bill Trott)