Beyond the badge: Death of Orlando sergeant felt in communities she tried to help

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ORLANDO, Fla. - An Orlando police master sergeant who was shot and killed in the line of duty Monday is being remembered as more than just a protector of the community.

Sgt. Debra Clayton was recently married and had one son. She was well known for her efforts to keep youth out of trouble.

Master Sgt. Debra Clayton had only been married one year before she was shot and killed outside a Walmart in Pine Hills.

Her loss is being felt on the streets and in multiple community centers where she volunteered her time to help children.

“Her presence was so charismatic, she was so engaging, she was easy to walk up to and talk to,” said pastor Kelvin Cobaris, of Impact Church.

He said that Clayton easily connected with the community.

Photos: OPD Master Sgt. Debra Clayton

“She tried to create those relationships that would bring the harmony between law enforcement and the community, to make a difference,” Cobaris said.

He recalled how Cayton helped him run a Halloween Fest at the Frontline Outreach Center to keep children out of trouble.

She also organized Stop the Violence marches and participated in education trips for children.

“She was out there to make sure that our children could play without violence,” said Cobaris.

Detective Joseph Lundy said that Clayton has a passion for young people.

Watch: Sgt. Clayton given police escort 

“When people impact your life in a positive way, automatically, we as people draw near to them,” said Lundy. “And when we draw near to them, it’s a big loss when they’re taken away.”

Cobaris said Clayton’s loss will be felt at home, work and on the streets of Orlando.

“She was a Christian woman. She was a good person. She was a good officer, and this is the last person you would want to see end up leaving the Earth that way,” said Cobaris. 

Police said Clayton was shot and killed by Markeith Loyd, who was wanted in the death of his pregnant ex-girlfriend. Loyd was still being sought Tuesday.