by: WFTV.com Updated:
PINE HILLS, Fla. – A Florida police officer who was shot three times outside a Pine Hills-area Walmart on Monday morning has died, according to authorities.
The man believed to have shot Clayton, 41-year-old Markeith Loyd, is also wanted in connection with the shooting death of his pregnant ex-girlfriend, deputies said. He is at large.
An Orange County sheriff’s deputy has also died. While on a motorcycle, setting up a perimeter in the search for Loyd, he was struck by a vehicle, Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings said.
Dozens of police vehicles descended on the area around the intersection of Pine Hills Road and North Lane, just south of Royal Oaks and Pineview apartments, after getting a report of the officer-involved shooting outside a nearby Walmart.
“(The shooter) was an average looking dude, he walked by me, had a security vest and everything,” witness James Herman told WFTV. “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.
“He took off running. It’s unreal.”
Herman said the man continued to shoot behind him as he was running from the scene.
“I hit the ground on the side over here because I wasn’t sure where the shooting was coming from at first,” he said. “I thought he was a security guard for Walmart.”
Three bullets hit Clayton. As medics took her by ambulance to a hospital, her heart briefly stopped, authorities said. Paramedics were able to revive her, the Orlando Fire Department said, but she later died at Orlando Regional Medical Center.
“Debra Clayton is a hero and she gave her life protecting the community that she loves. She will be deeply missed,” Orlando police Chief John Mina said.
Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer declared Monday a day of mourning in memory of Clayton and the unidentified motorcycle deputy.
An Orange County sheriff’s deputy spotted Loyd at the intersection of North Lane and Pine Hills Drive and followed him to a nearby apartment complex, officials said.
He opened fire on the deputy, hitting his unmarked SUV twice, and then carjacked a second vehicle and continued to flee, the Orange County Sheriff’s Office said.
He abandoned the vehicle near the intersection of Rosemont Avenue and Cinderlane Parkway and fled on foot, authorities said.
The deputy was not hit.
Loyd then carjacked a vehicle, deputies said. It has since been found abandoned.
Authorities have been searching for Loyd since last month, after deputies found his ex-girlfriend, Sade Dixon, shot and killed. She was pregnant at the time and is survived by her two children, 5 and 7.
Herman said Clayton was putting bags into the trunk of her vehicle at Walmart when she was approached by another shopper.
“The customer walked up to her and said that someone they were looking for, wanted, was in the store in the line to check out,” he said. “She went in there, I guess, to confront him. As she was going back to Walmart, he was coming out, and he shot her.”
Herman said he heard at least 12 gunshots.
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