News 5 days ago

Police: Suspect in officer's killing was wearing body armor

The Associated Press — By MIKE SCHNEIDER - Associated Press

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — A fugitive who is the focus of a four-day manhunt was wearing a bulletproof vest when he fatally shot an Orlando police sergeant earlier this week, Orlando's police chief said Thursday.

Investigators found clothing belonging to 41-year-old Markeith Loyd that suggests Master Sgt. Debra Clayton returned fire after she was shot, but that a bulletproof vest protected the suspect, Orlando Police Chief John Mina said.

Clayton was killed Monday morning after approaching Loyd in the parking lot of a Wal-Mart store. He was wanted at the time for the murder of his pregnant ex-girlfriend in mid-December.

The fugitive shot Clayton several times, even when she was on the ground, the chief said.

Police arrested a former supervisor at the fried-chicken restaurant where Loyd worked, an ex-girlfriend and a niece on Tuesday and Wednesday on charges of helping him in the weeks after Loyd's ex-girlfriend was fatally shot. Mina said they haven't been cooperative in locating him.

"If there is anyone who is harboring, aiding, abetting him in any way, they will be arrested as we've seen with the past three arrests," Mina said.

Hundreds of deputies and officers have searched almost 100 places since Monday, and they've received more than 800 tips.

The searches have been lower-profile compared to Monday's door-to-door search of an Orlando apartment complex, and searchers have cast a broader net in central Florida, Mina said.

The crime-tip service Crimeline is offering a $100,000 reward for a tip that leads to Loyd's arrest.

"Anybody who makes a phone call is valuable to us at this point," said Barb Bergin, the local Crimeline's executive director.

After Clayton was shot, many of her colleagues immediately joined the pursuit. Among them was sheriff's Deputy First Class Norman Lewis, who died when he was thrown from his motorcycle in an accident.

Funerals were planned for Lewis for Friday and Clayton for Saturday.