“Love one another”: Lt. Debra Clayton’s widower reflects on wife’s passion for law enforcement

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — Seth and Debra Clayton were still newlyweds in January 2017.

They’d only been married a year when Debra, a lieutenant with the Orlando Police Department, was shot and killed outside of an Orange County Walmart.


Investigators say Clayton was gunned down in the store’s parking lot when she approached Markeith Loyd, who was wanted for killing his ex-girlfriend and her unborn child.

Orlando police said when she approached Loyd, he fatally shot her.

LIVE UPDATES: Opening statements conclude in Markeith Loyd murder trial

Seth said he knew how much she loved her job as a police officer, even if because of that job he is now a widower.

“It was worrisome, I worried about it when she went out at night … (but) it was something she was passionate about and something she wanted to do,” he said.

READ: A timeline of the Markeith Loyd cases

Seth said he is glad Loyd’s trial for his wife’s murder is finally getting underway, nearly five years later.

“I think about it everyday,” he said. “We did a lot together, you can’t help but think about it.”

He said his wife wanted to make a difference in the communities where there was violence and tried to bridge the gap between the people and police.

READ: Who is Markeith Loyd?

“She was trying to get people in the neighborhoods to love one another, and all the police and citizens to come together as one,” Seth said.

Seth said he will be there to watch to see if Loyd is convicted of murder for the second time, the first being for the death of his ex-girlfriend and her unborn child.

READ: Who was Orlando police Lt. Debra Clayton?

“It’s going to be hard because it’s going to bring up a lot of stuff and memories … I am ready for it to be over with because it was prolonged for so long … I can get closure,” he said.

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Shannon Butler

Shannon Butler, WFTV.com

Shannon joined the Eyewitness News team in 2013.

Sarah Wilson

Sarah Wilson, WFTV.com

Sarah Wilson joined WFTV Channel 9 in 2018 as a digital producer after working as an award-winning newspaper reporter for nearly a decade in various communities across Central Florida.