Reports are surfacing of a manhunt for a man suspected to have shot a police officer outside Walmart earlier today. The hunt so far has stretched for several hours.
The suspect has been identified as Markeith Loyd. He is also accused of murdering his pregnant girlfriend.
According to the Orlando Sentinel, a SWAT team had surrounded an apartment complex a few miles north-west of where the officer was shot.
Orlando Police Chief John Mina said, “We’re going to bring this dirtbag to justice. There’s going to be someone who knows where he is.”
Court records reveal Loyd has had frequent brushes with the law and has been arrested twenty times since 1994.
The officer who was killed was Master Sgt. Debra Clayton. She had two children and had been married for one year. According to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, 64 officers were killed in 2016 which is an increase of 50% from 2015.
One witness, James Herman said, “(The shooter) was an average looking dude, he walked by me, had a security vest and everything. I was walking down the sidewalk, right past the officer, and I heard her tell him to stop, or whatever, and he shot her. He shot her down.”
Loyd had been wanted for a few weeks in connection with shooting Sade Dixon, a pregnant mother of two as well as critically wounding her brother, Ronald Stewart. By all accounts Dixon had ended a relationship with Loyd.
Herman said that the officer had been tipped off that Loyd was in the store, at the checkout. As she approached the store, he barged out and fired at least twelve times. Three shots hit Sgt. Clayton.
Loyd was traced to an apartment building where he fired shots at an unmarked SUV before carjacking a vehicle and escaping.
The hunt for Loyd continues.