ORLANDO, Fla.—An Orlando police officer has died following a shooting while on duty early Monday, and authorities are conducting a massive manhunt for the suspect.
The Orlando Police Department announced the officer’s death on its official Twitter account Monday morning. The shooting occurred near a Walmart store in Orlando earlier Monday.
The tweet said, “One of our own was taken in the line of duty. There are no words.” With the Twitter post was a video of the officer’s body being taken out of the hospital to a waiting van in a flag-covered stretcher. A line of officers saluted as the stretcher was wheeled out.
A news conference is planned at Orlando Regional Medical Center.
The Orange County Sheriff’s Office has joined in the search for the suspect, identified as Markeith Loyd, 41, in an area of northwest metro Orlando.
Authorities said 17 area schools were placed in lockdown following the shooting.
No additional details were provided about the shooting. But sheriff’s officials said Loyd was spotted by a deputy fleeing in the Orlando police officer’s vehicle. The suspect pulled into a nearby apartment complex and then fired at a deputy, striking the deputy’s SUV twice. The deputy wasn’t harmed, the sheriff’s office said.
Loyd then carjacked another vehicle, drove away and then abandoned the vehicle not far away, according to the sheriff’s office.
The manhunt was being conducted where he abandoned the vehicle.
The sheriff’s office said Lloyd previously was a suspect in the murder of his ex-girlfriend last December.
Gov. Rick Scott cancelled an appearance in Orlando because of the shooting.