Manhunt

Reward hiked in manhunt for Orlando cop-killing suspect

Police say suspect is a career criminal, believed armed and dangerous

 

The reward for information on the suspected Orlando cop-killer on the loose was ratcheted up to $100,000 on Tuesday, police announced, confirming the suspect likely had somebody helping him stay one step ahead of law enforcement since Monday's shooting.

Markeith Loyd, 41, apparently posted on Facebook last month that he wanted his face on one of America's most popular crime shows.

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"Goals!!!! To be on Americas most wanted," a November 2016 post page read. A separate post from December was addressed to the city of Orlando: "When you talk about street legends mention ME!!!!! Me!!!!"

"We are all focused on bringing Markeith Loyd to justice. We are working on having arrest warrants signed for those who have have aided him," Orlando police said Tuesday. The reward on Monday for information into his whereabouts was $60,000.

Loyd already had a long rap sheet and murder accusation to his name before police said he shot and killed an officer who confronted him outside a Walmart in Orlando on Monday. Law enforcement agencies ramped up their manhunt immediately, but signs of Loyd were few and far between.

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The manhunt itself led to the death of a sheriff's deputy in a motorcycle crash and the injury of another officer.

"There was a bunch of chaos, a bunch of people running, yelling, and screaming, all confused, confused as to where to go, what to do and how do to get out of there," one witness named Chris, who did not give a last name, told Fox 35.

Loyd's December Facebook post appeared one day before investigators said he shot and killed his pregnant ex-girlfriend, and critically wounded her brother, outside her home. After that, police said he took off -- and he went silent on social media.

"He should be considered armed and dangerous," Police Chief John Mina said. Later in the day, the chief said, "It doesn't matter where he is. We will track him down to the ends of the Earth."

Loyd served 10 years behind bars, and five years probation, for conspiracy with intent to distribute cocaine, the Orlando Sentinel reported. He also did nearly four years for battery on a law enforcement officer -- and was found guilty later for punching a jail officer who demanded he get off the phone for mealtime, according to the newspaper.

In 1996, back when he was 21, Loyd faced murder charges, which prosecutors ultimately dropped after a teenaged witness admitted she lied. At the time, investigators said Loyd and three other people wanted drugs from the man who turned up dead.

While pictures of Loyd have spread across social media, appearing on "America's Most Wanted" seems less feasible. The show, once a mainstay on Fox TV, has not aired since 2013.

Master Sgt. Debra Clayton, 42, was killed outside the Walmart in northwest Orlando early Monday, and Orange County Sheriff's Office Deputy 1st Class Norman Lewis was killed more than two hours later in a crash while responding to the manhunt. Another Orlando police officer was involved in a crash while responding to the shooting but had only minor injuries.

Mina lauded Clayton, a 17-year veteran of the force,  as a committed officer and a hero who gave her life to the community she loves. The Orlando Police Department said in a tweet that Clayton always had a smile and a high five for every child she came across.

The deaths left Orlando's law enforcement community in mourning. Clayton's patrol SUV was displayed in front of Orlando Police headquarters Tuesday morning. The police department also started an online fund to raise money for her family.

In the Walmart parking lot Tuesday morning, shoppers laid more than two dozen bouquets of flowers, teddy bears and candles in a makeshift memorial. Some shoppers, like Hal Shore, stopped to say a prayer or take a photo.

"It's important that the country is aware that there is a war against police officers," said Shore, a cabinet maker.

While at the Walmart on Monday morning, Clayton was tipped off by someone that Loyd was in the area. When she approached him, he fired multiple shots at Clayton, who was wearing body armor, Mina said.

Clayton returned fire but didn't hit him, he said.

Sheriff's officials said a deputy spotted Loyd driving off. The suspect pulled into a nearby apartment complex and then fired at a deputy, striking the deputy's SUV twice. The deputy wasn't harmed, the sheriff's office said.

Loyd then carjacked another vehicle, drove away and then abandoned the vehicle not far away, according to the sheriff's office.

Click for more from Fox 35.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.