Two US police officers have been killed during a manhunt for a murder suspect in Orlando, Florida, officials say.

The suspect, Markeith Damengzlo Loyd, has been on the run since he was accused of shooting dead a pregnant mother last month.

On Monday, Loyd shot dead a 17-year veteran police officer in the line of duty near a Walmart store, as she was trying to arrest him.



Orlando police Master Sergeant Debra Clayton, 42, was shopping in the store before she went outside to put bags in her car’s trunk when someone told her that Loyd might be in the store.

She contacted the suspect and told him to stop and come out, but the man fired multiple shots at her before fleeing the scene. Clayton was shot and later pronounced dead in a local hospital.

“Debra Clayton is a hero, and she gave her life to protect the community she loves,” Police Chief John Mina said at a press conference. “She will be deeply missed.”
Later in the day, officials said a second officer, Orange County Sheriff's Deputy Norman Lewis, was killed in a car crash while searching for Loyd.

After shooting Clayton, the suspect carjacked a vehicle, but was chased by police. During the chase, he fired his weapon at least once at Lewis, who was on a motorcycle. Afterwards, Lewis crashed into an uninvolved motorist and was killed.

"He should be considered armed and dangerous," Mina said. "We're going to bring this dirt bag to justice, and he's going to go to jail."

The incident prompted officials to close thirteen schools during the daytime. Police said anyone with information about the suspect will receive a reward of up to $60,000.

Attorney General Loretta Lynch said in a statement that "these tragic deaths make clear the great risks that our brave men and women in uniform face each and every day, and the deep and abiding gratitude that our nation owes them for their service."