Search for accused Orlando cop killer reaches Bay area

POLK COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – Police in Haines City are asking for the public’s help in finding the man accused of gunning down Orlando Master Sgt. Debra Clayton Monday morning as she tried to arrest him in connection with the murder of his pregnant ex-girlfriend last month.

Haines City police are looking for the public’s assistance in locating Markeith Loyd, 41, who is considered armed and dangerous. There is currently a $100,000 reward for his capture.

Orlando Police Chief John Mina said Thursday that searchers found clothing belonging to Loyd and that led them to believe he was wearing a bulletproof vest when he fatally shot Master Sgt. Debra Clayton on Monday.

Mina says the sergeant apparently hit Loyd with return fire, but that the vest protected him. He also says Loyd shot Clayton repeatedly, even when she was on the ground.

Loyd has eluded authorities as they have continued to follow up leads throughout Central Florida.  The Crime Line has received about 1,000 tips.

So far, police have searched about 800 places in Orange and Lake Counties.

Wednesday, police arrested three people in connection with aiding Loyd, including his ex-girlfriend Jameis Slaughter, niece Lakensha Smith-Loyd, and a day earlier, Zarghee Mayan, the fugitive’s supervisor at a fried chicken restaurant.

Loyd’s niece, Lakensha Smith-Loyd, and his ex-girlfriend, Jameis Slaguther, face one charge each of accessory after the fact to first-degree murder.

Investigators also arrested Loyd’s former employee, Mayan, on the same charge.

A manhunt for Loyd after Monday’s fatal shooting of Master Sgt. Debra Clayton enters its fifth day Friday.

The Police Chief in Haines City is asking for the public’s help through a posting he made on Facebook.

“He is in it for a fight, for a battle whether it’s a gun battle or whatever the case may be,” Haines City Acting Police Chief Jay Hopwood told News Channel 8.  “He seems like he’s ready to do battle with whoever he comes across, contact with.”

“Every police department here, at least in Central Florida, should be on alert for him.”

Memorials for Clayton and Orange County Deputy First Class Norman Lewis, who was killed in a crash on his way to the manhunt on Monday, have sprung up throughout the city of Orlando.

Jack Sherb is a retired cop on vacation in Haines City.

“Absolutely horrible,” Sherb told News Channel 8.  “Absolutely horrible.”

After 20 years on the force outside the nation’s capitol, he has a lot of experiences in cases like this.

“A lot of time people don’t want to leave the area they’re accustomed to,” he said.  We asked if that had been his experience.  He answered, “Yes, absolutely.”

And with law enforcement and residents alike on high alert, one thing is for sure.

“He need to be brought to justice,” said Jimmy Wilson of Dundee.  “Catch him and get him off the street.  He’s dangerous.”

Authorities have received a handful of tips in the Haines City area and nearly 1,000 tips overall.  There is a $100,000 reward for anyone with information that leads to the arrest and conviction of Markeith Loyd.

Police urge anyone with any information regarding his whereabouts to contact them at 863-421-3636, extension 2268, or Crimestoppers at 800-423-TIPS.

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