Orlando police raise reward for suspect wanted in officer's death
The Orlando Police Department issued a wanted poster for Markeith Loyd, 41, on Monday, Jan. 9, 2017. Loyd is wanted in connection with the murders of his pregnant ex-girlfriend and Orlando Master Sgt. Debra Clayton.
MELBOURNE, Fla. — Authorities raised the reward for the whereabouts of a man accused of fatally shooting an Orlando police officer during a confrontation to $100,000 as the FBI placed the fugitive on its most wanted list.
Orange County, Fla., officials also activated their emergency operations center as federal, state and local law enforcement agents come together to work on the case that has prompted a massive manhunt across central Florida.
"We're using every tool to bring (the officer's) killer to justice," said Orlando Police Chief John Mina during a news conference Tuesday. Authorities say they are following numerous tips on Markeith Loyd, the 41-year-old suspected of shooting and killing Orlando Master Sgt. Debra Clayton during a violent confrontation at a Walmart parking lot.
“Please continue to be vigilant and help us bring this killer to justice,” a spokesperson tweeted earlier for the Orlando Police Department.
Orange County (Fla.) Sheriff's Deputy Norman Lewis was killed in a traffic accident during a manhunt for Markeith Loyd on Monday, Jan. 9, 2017. Loyd is suspected of fatally shooting Orlando Master Sgt. Debra Clayton.
The officer’s shooting death prompted a massive manhunt by hundreds of law enforcement officers as armored vehicles and SWAT teams fanned out to the area near the Walmart retail center where the deadly shooting took place. Loyd’s photo was later plastered on wanted posters and distributed on social media.
More than a dozen Orange County schools also were placed on lock down Monday.
Compounding the tragedy was the death of another officer — Orange County (Fla.) Sheriff’s Deputy Norman Lewis, a motor patrolman who had joined the search for Clayton’s suspected killer. Lewis, an 11-year-veteran of the agency, was described as a "gentle giant" by the department.
Florida Highway Patrol investigators said the deputy was on a motorcycle when the driver of a 2010 Honda van attempted to turn left and turned directly into the path of the motorcycle. The deputy was thrown from the bike and was pronounced dead, reports show.
The manhunt for Loyd was conducted all day Monday as officers searched for him in dozens of homes, displacing some residents of a northwest Orlando apartment complex and tying up traffic.
Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings said deputies had been searching unsuccessfully for Loyd for several weeks since the fatal shooting of his ex-girlfriend and believe he was receiving help from someone.
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