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Hundreds of police in manhunt for suspect in killing of Florida officer

Hundreds of law enforcement officers searched for a second day on Tuesday for the man suspected in the fatal shooting of a policewoman in Orlando, Florida.

Orlando Police Chief John Mina said teams of detectives were tracking down leads, while hundreds of officers searched for the suspect, identified as Markeith Loyd, 41, of Orlando.

"We will not stop until we find him," Mina said in a video posted by the agency on Twitter, assuring the community it was still safe.

The manhunt claimed the life of a local sheriff's deputy who died in a collision.

Authorities offered a reward of up to $60,000 for information about Loyd, who was wanted in connection with the December murder of his pregnant ex-girlfriend.

The slain officer, Master Sergeant Debra Clayton, 42, was shot on Monday after Loyd was spotted at a local Walmart, police said. Loyd and Clayton exchanged gunfire, according to police. Loyd was not believed to have been hit.

Clayton, a decorated 17-year Orlando police veteran, died at a hospital. Her patrol car was parked outside police headquarters alongside a funeral wreath on Tuesday, the agency said on Twitter.

Local media said Clayton was one of the first officers to respond to the Pulse gay nightclub in Orlando in which a gunman killed 49 people last June in the deadliest shooting rampage in modern U.S. history.

During the police chase of Loyd, an Orange County sheriff's deputy was killed in a collision between his motorcycle and a van, police said.

Deputy First Class Norman Lewis, 35, was an 11-year-veteran who once played collegiate football. On Twitter, the Orlando police department called him "a hero known as the gentle giant."

(Reporting by Letitia Stein in Tampa, Florida; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)

 

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