Orlando officer killed by Markeith Loyd awarded agency’s highest honor

Orlando Police Master Sgt. Debra Clayton was gunned down in the line of duty on Jan. 9, 2017. (Orlando Police Dept.)

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) – A slain Orlando police officer has been recognized with her department’s highest honors.

Lt. Debra Clayton was fatally shot in January while trying to arrest a man suspected of killing his pregnant ex-girlfriend.

On Wednesday, the Orlando Police Department posthumously commended Clayton with the Purple Heart Award and the Award of Valor.

The agency also honored officer Branden Thornton and Jeremy Sisk and Cpl. Robert Schellhorn with the Award of Merit for their response to the shooting scene on Jan. 9.

Markeith Loyd was captured after a massive manhunt. He faces multiple charges for the deaths of 42-year-old Clayton and 24-year-old Sade Dixon, who was shot last December.

The case prompted a legal skirmish over the death penalty between the state attorney and Florida Gov. Rick Scott.

Lt. Debra Clayton’s vehicle vandalized in front of police headquarters
Credit: Orlando Police Department

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