ORLANDO, Fla. (MEDIA GENERAL) — A police officer shot and killed Monday morning in Orlando was a married mother who died protecting the community she loved, according to the Orlando Police Department’s chief of police, John Mina.
Master Sgt. Debra Clayton passed away about an hour after she was shot outside a Walmart in a northwest neighborhood of the city.
Chief Mina said Clayton, a 17-year veteran of the force, was extremely committed to Orlando’s youth. She had a “smile and a high-five for every kid she came across,” a tweet by the department stated.
They later posted a picture of a smiling Clayton standing with two young boys with the caption “THIS is how we know and remember Sergeant Debra Clayton.”
Chief Mina said Clayton also organized several marches against violence by herself.
“Debra Clayon is a hero,” he declared. “She gave her life protecting the community that she loves. She will be deeply missed.”
The suspect in the shooting has been identified as Markeith Loyd. At the time of Clayton’s murder, Loyd, 41, was a suspect in the December murder of his pregnant ex-girlfriend.
A second law enforcement officer, a deputy with the Orange County Sheriff’s Office, also died Monday.
Deputy First Class Norman Lewis, an 11-year veteran, was killed in a motorcycle crash while pursing Loyd.
Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer declared a day of mourning in the city, asking that the community stand united in support of officers’ families.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.