“Master-Sergeant Clayton has a warm heart and a deep care for the community that she took an oath to serve and protect 17 years ago. When someone tells you, hey there is a murder suspect right there, we have to act. We’ve not like regular citizens where we can just go hide in our car, or wait, or call 911, we have to act,” says Orlando police Chief John Mina. Clayton was alone when she encountered Markeith Loyd at the Walmart at John Young Parkway and Princeton Street.
In the meantime, she was calling it in on her police radio, and by the time her backup arrived, she had exchanged gunfire, and she had been hit, and announced dead at the hospital. This all transpired in 30 minutes, and Loyd who is wanted in connection in the death of his pregnant ex-girlfriend Sade Dixon on December 13th.
Clayton was well known in the community for volunteering her time to help at-risk youth. She was involved in numerous outreach programs through the Orlando Police Department.
Orlando Commissioner Regina Hill spoke about the difference Clayton made in the community she served. “She gave it all to see transformation in the streets of Ivey Lane. In the corridor of Mercy Drive and up and down North Lane where she was a servant leader, she worked. At the time of her death, she was preparing to start a non-profit to help bridge the gap between law enforcement and the community.”
Some call her an angel and others called her love, but there was a life behind that badge. Officer Clayton had just married her soul mate last year in Jamaica. “Everything she worked for, she died for,” said her son Johnny.
January 9th was a sad day for both local police Departments, because First Class Deputy Norman Lewis was killed on his motorcycle as he searched for the suspect Markeith Loyd. Deputy Lewis was an 11 year veteran and had played football on the University of Central Florida team. His ex-supervisor called him a hero and he will be missed by his family, friends and co-workers on the Orange County Police Department.
Detectives have arrested three people so far in helping Loyd avoid arrest since December 13th. Lord’s niece Lakensha Smith-Loyd and ex-girlfriend, Jameis Slaughter faces a charge of accessory after the fact to first degree murder and bail has been set at $750,000. Former employer Zargher Mayan has also been arrested.
Every day in Orlando and in Black neighborhood across our country Blacks kill Blacks and very little is said about it in the local news. But when police in our neighborhood are killed, a $100,000 award is put up to locate the individual. Someone in the community knows where Markeith Loyd is hiding and it is terrible that the neighborhood is silent.
I pray that the killer is found and the residents can live in peace in their community. But I also pray that every individual that dies in the Black community this year is treated as significant as the two officers that died this week.
The killing in this street warfare in the Black community must stop, and this will happen when we come together and say we have had enough. Deputy Debra Clayton and Deputy Norman Lewis were great heroes and they both died doing what they loved.
“To all the families, love ones, co-workers, and friends, we all have to keep pushing forward so we can make a better city,” says Johnny Deputy Clayton’s son .
On Saturday at First Baptist Church Orlando, there were over 1,000 family members, police officers, and friends who attended Deputy Debra Clayton’s funeral, and on Sunday at First Baptist Church Orlando over hundreds of family members, police officers, and friends attended Deputy Norman Lewis’ funeral.