Two Florida officers die in pursuit of murder suspect

Orlando Police Master Sgt. Debra Clayton

Orland, Fla. (NBC News) — Two Florida officers were killed Monday during a manhunt for a murder suspect who has been on the run since he was accused of fatally shooting a pregnant mother last month.

Orlando Police Master Sgt. Debra Clayton was shot by the suspect, Markeith Loyd, after responding to a sighting of him outside a Walmart around 7:15 a.m. Monday, police chief John Mina told reporters.

Clayton was a married mother of one and a 17-year veteran of the force; she didn’t survive her multiple gunshot wounds, despite other officers rushing to her aid shortly after, Mina said.

The Orange County Sheriff’s Office then responded to the scene, Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings told reporters. The suspect carjacked a vehicle and a high-speed car chase ensued, with the suspect firing at least one shot, Demings said.

A Orange County Sheriff’s Office deputy was killed in a resulting crash while traveling on his motorcycle, Demings said. The deputy has not yet been identified.

Loyd is accused of the Dec. 13 killing of Sade Dixon, 24, who was three months pregnant and was a mother of two.

Officials said the hunt continues for Loyd, who is believed to be armed and dangerous.

“We’re going to bring this dirtbag to justice and he’s going to go to jail,” Mina said at a news conference.

Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer declared Monday an official day of mourning. Florida Gov. Rick Scott said he was “heartbroken and angered” over the loss of lives.

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