An Orlando police officer was gunned down in the line of duty on Monday morning, leading to an intense manhunt for her killer. Police Master Sgt. Debra Clayton, a 17-year veteran of the Orlando force and wife and mother of two, died Monday morning after injuries suffered in a shooting, the department’s police chief John Mina said. Clayton was at a Walmart in Orlando pursuing a murder suspect when she was fatally shot, Mina told reporters. A witness told a CNN affiliate that he saw Clayton pursue a man wearing a security guard uniform and said she told him stop. Instead, the witness said, the man wearing the uniform brandished a firearm and “shot her down.” The witness said the suspect continued shooting behind him as he fled the scene. Clayton’s death marks the first firearm related killing of a police officer in 2017.
Authorities identified the suspect as Markeith Loyd. Lloyd is wanted for the December killing of a pregnant woman and a $60,000 reward has been offered for information leading to his capture. Officials launched an intense manhunt for Lloyd following Clayton’s killing, and another officer, a county deputy sheriff, involved in the search was killed in a traffic accident. Several other officers were injured pursuing Lloyd on Monday.
Clayton was 42 years old, beloved for her infectious smile and widely regarded as a true professional — an officer who was skilled at building bonds with the community that she policed.
“I’ve known Debra for 17 years,” Mina said. “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. Debra Clayton is a hero, and she gave her life protecting the community that she loved.”
As of Monday afternoon, police were still searching for Lloyd.
Read the full story at CNN.