Reward increased to $100,000 in search for suspect who killed Orlando officer

r-beloved-deputy-first-clasORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Authorities announced on Tuesday that the reward is now $100,000 for information leading to the arrest of Markeith Loyd, who is accused of shooting and killing Orlando Police Department Master Sgt. Debra Clayton on Monday.

The Orange County Sheriff’s Office said in a tweet that agencies are getting 300 tips a day in connection with the case.

“Reward is now $100,000. Do not protect this murder suspect. 800-423-8477,” said the Orange County Sheriff’s Office tweet.

A massive manhunt continued in central Florida Tuesday as authorities searched for Loyd.

The Orlando Police Department announced the death of Master Sgt. Debra Clayton on its official Twitter account Monday morning.

A short time later, authorities said at a press conference that a second law enforcement officer was killed in a vehicle accident while searching for the suspect in Clayton’s killing. Later in the day, the sheriff’s office honored the deputy on social media: “It is with heavy hearts we announce the death of beloved Deputy First Class Norman Lewis. The 11-year-veteran died in a crash today. #RIP”

The shooting occurred near a Walmart store in northwest Orlando.

Authorities said suspect Markeith Loyd, 41 is also a suspect in the murder of his pregnant ex-girlfriend last December.

Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings said deputies had been searching unsuccessfully for Loyd for several weeks and believe he was receiving help from someone.

“He should be considered armed and dangerous,” said Police Chief John Mina said at a press conference. “He will be brought to justice.”

Mina lauded Clayton, a 17-year veteran of the force as a “committed” officer and “a hero” who gave her life to the community she loves. The tweet said Clayton always had a smile and a high five for every child she came across.

“She made a point, even outside her working hours, do to things for youth and do things for the community,” said Deputy Chief Orlando Rolon, who added he assumed she was wearing a bulletproof vest since that is agency policy.

She was married and had two children. She died Monday at 7:40 a.m., less than an hour after she was shot while on duty.

Police released a video of Clayton’s body being taken out of the hospital to a waiting van in a flag-covered stretcher. A line of officers saluted as the stretcher was wheeled out.

Authorities said 17 area schools were placed in lockdown following the shooting.

Suspect Markeith Loyd is still on the run.
Suspect Markeith Loyd is still on the run.

Mina said officers believed they knew where Loyd was. Officers were deployed to an apartment complex in northwest Orlando. The apartment complex and shooting in northwest Orlando was nowhere near Orlando’s tourism corridor in the southern part of the metro area.

“There will be a large law enforcement presence in that area until we can determine he is not there,” Mina said.

Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer declared a day of mourning in the city.

Clayton either recognized Loyd or had been tipped off to his whereabouts when she approached him Monday morning, Mina said.

Loyd then fired multiple shots at Clayton, according to the police.

Sheriff’s officials said Loyd was spotted by a deputy fleeing in the Orlando police officer’s vehicle. The suspect pulled into a nearby apartment complex and then fired at a deputy, striking the deputy’s SUV twice. The deputy wasn’t harmed, the sheriff’s office said.

Loyd then carjacked another vehicle, drove away and then abandoned the vehicle not far away, according to the sheriff’s office.

The manhunt was being conducted where he abandoned the vehicle.

Gov. Rick Scott cancelled an appearance in Orlando because of the shooting but appeared with Orlando officials at the news conference.

“I’m heartbroken and angry,” Scott said.

The Orange County Sheriff’s Office released the following statement following the death of Deputy Lewis-

“It is with heavy hearts that we announce the death of our beloved Deputy First Class Norman Lewis.
DFC Lewis lost his life after a traffic crash at the intersection of Balboa and North Pine Hills Road this morning.
DFC Lewis was 35 years old and had been with the Orange County Sheriff’s Office since March of 2005.
Norm was an esteemed member of our Motors/DUI Unit. He was a graduate of the University of Central Florida and played football for the Knights.
Norm will be deeply missed.
Rest in peace, gentle giant. #BigNorm

Master Sgt. Debra Clayton, Orlando Police Officer killed in line of duty. (Photo courtesy Orlando Police)
Master Sgt. Debra Clayton, Orlando Police Officer killed in line of duty. (Photo courtesy Orlando Police)

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