Orange County

Who was Orlando police Lt. Debra Clayton?

Fallen Orlando Police Master Sgt. Debra Clayton

ORLANDO, Fla. — At the time of her death, Orlando police Lt. Debra Clayton had worked for the department for 17 years.

Clayton died after she was shot by then-wanted murder suspect Markeith Loyd in the parking lot of a Walmart at the intersection of Princeton Street and John Young Parkway on Jan. 9, 2017.


Loyd has already been convicted and sentenced to life in prison for the killing of his former girlfriend, Sade Dixon, and her unborn child. Jury selection is currently underway for his trial for Clayton’s death.

Clayton was survived by her husband and son. She was posthumously promoted from the rank of master sergeant to the rank of lieutenant.

READ: Who is Markeith Loyd?

Clayton was hired by Orlando police in 1999, a year after she graduated from the University of Central Florida.

“Everything she worked for, she died for,” said her son Johnny at a memorial after her death. “She loved people, and she loved to save people and help people.”

READ: Chief describes slain Orlando sergeant as ‘amazing person, dedicated police officer’

Following Clayton’s death, Orlando Commissioner Regina Hill spoke about the difference Clayton made in the community she served.

“She gave it all to see transformation in the streets of Ivey Lane, in the corridors of Mercy Drive (and) up and down North Lane where she was a servant leader,” Hill said, noting that at the time of her death, Clayton was preparing to start a nonprofit to help bridge the gap between law enforcement and the community.

READ: ‘Officer Debra was love’ — Friends and family remember slain Orlando officer at candlelight vigil

Orlando Commissioner Patty Sheehan described Clayton in simple terms.

“Officer Debra was love,” she said.

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Sarah Wilson

Sarah Wilson,

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.