ORLANDO, Fla. - Theophilus Edward was alone in his truck as his co-workers got supplies at the Walmart on Princeton Street in Orlando when he heard the gunfire.
It was the morning of Jan. 9, the day investigators say Markeith Loyd killed Orlando police Lt. Debra Clayton.
He was five parking spaces away—close enough to see the fire from Loyd’s gun.
“I went into panic mode. I was more frozen than anything,” Edward said. “I wanted to move but I couldn't move. I was just locked into place.”
While frozen in his car, he heard Loyd fire five shots—three, he said, while Clayton was on the ground.
“I knew she was gone,” he said. “It was real loud and the way he shot down at her body and then when she fell and he shot her some more, I knew she was gone.”
After firing the last shot, Edward said, Loyd calmly walked back to his car.
“He showed no remorse, like he had no feeling,” he said. “He just did it as if it was something he had done before. It didn't bother him.”
Deputies say he had done it before. Clayton approached Loyd because there was a warrant out for the shooting of his pregnant ex-girlfriend, Sade Dixon.
After Clayton’s death, Loyd led law enforcement officers on an eight-day manhunt.
Edward kept to himself during that time, worried Loyd may come after him.
As he watched the manhunt end with a bloodied Loyd being led into the Orlando police headquarters, he felt a profound sense of relief.
“I was happy, glad. Oh my God, very happy,” he said. “Maybe I could talk again. Maybe I could tell somebody what happened because until then I was scared.”
Now, Edward said, he refuses to watch anything with Loyd’s name or face in it. Where there was fear, there’s now anger as Loyd awaits trial.
“I’m very angry; angry enough to want to see him not necessarily put away, but put to death,” he said. “He deserves it.”
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