January 10, 2017 / 4:52 PM / 3 years ago

Police offer $100,000 reward in hunt for suspect in killing of Florida officer

(Reuters) - Authorities offered a $100,000 reward on Tuesday for information leading to the capture of the man suspected in the fatal shooting of a policewoman in Orlando, Florida.

Slain Orlando police officer, Master Sgt. Debra Clayton, is shown in this undated handout photo in Orlando, Florida, provided January 9, 2017. Courtesy Orlando Police Department/Handout via REUTERS

Orlando Police Chief John Mina said hundreds of officers had been assigned to track down the suspect, Markeith Loyd, 41, calling the operation “an extensive manhunt.”

Authorities said they had received more than 300 tips on Loyd in the past day. Mina declined to say whether the suspect was still believed to be in the Orlando area.

“We will bring him to justice. It’s only a matter of time,” Mina told reporters on Tuesday afternoon. Authorities raised the reward in the case from $60,000.

During the manhunt, a local sheriff’s deputy was killed in a collision on Monday.

Loyd had been wanted in connection with the December killing of his pregnant ex-girlfriend.

The slain officer, Master Sergeant Debra Clayton, 42, was shot on Monday after Loyd was spotted at a 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.

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 of the force who once played college football. On Twitter, the Orlando Police Department called him “a hero known as the gentle giant.”

Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings said officers were working to arrest suspects believed to have aided Loyd in eluding apprehension in recent weeks.

“He has been able to avoid capture. He is not going to be able to do that for much longer,” Demings told reporters.

Reporting by Letitia Stein in Tampa, Fla.; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe and Peter Cooney

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