On Monday morning, Orlando police Master Sgt. Debra Clayton, 42, was shot to death. A few hours later, Norman Lewis, a deputy first class with the Orange County Sheriff’s Office, was killed in an auto accident while searching for Clayton’s assailant.
The deaths are a double tragedy for a community still recovering from the Pulse nightclub shooting that left 49 dead in June.
“To lose two law enforcement officers on this Law Enforcement Officer Appreciation Day is indeed a tragedy,” Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings said.
Here’s what we know about the two officers.
Clayton was killed Monday morning while trying to arrest Markeith Loyd, a murder suspect, outside a Walmart, police have said.
She grew up in the Orlando area and had worked 17 years for the police department, Police Chief John Mina said.
Her cousin, Jonathan Thomas, told the Sentinel that Clayton had long been interested in police work.
“It was her passion,” he said. “She wanted to be a police officer so she could do good and get bad people off the streets.”
Mina said Clayton devoted herself to helping youth.
“She did so many different projects in the community.,” he said. “She organized several marches against violence by herself.”
“She personally traveled and mentored kids in this area and went on trips to Washington, D.C., and other parts of the country,” Mina said.
“Debra Clayton is a hero,” Mina said, “and she gave her life protecting the community that she loved.”
Teresa Sokolovic said Clayton was a faithful friend, staying with her two days last year after Sokolovic had surgery.
“I didn’t know anyone with a bigger heart,” Sokolovic told the Sentinel. “She was an angel.”
Lewis was killed in an auto accident about 2½ hours after Clayton was shot. As a massive manhunt for the shooting suspect was underway, Lewis was driving a motorcycle when a motorist turned in front of him, Demings said.
Orlando attorney Brian Sandor met Lewis while both were students at UCF. They remained friends.
“‘Big Norm’ was known as much for his infectious ear-to-ear smile as he was his 6-foot-3, nearly 300-pound towering frame,” Sandor said. “His smile and laugh took over any room he was in.”
Sandor said he would run into Lewis in the courtroom and other spots.
“I’ll miss our time goofing off in court during recesses,” Sandor said. “He always made long breaks fly by. However, what I will miss the most is my friend and a man who I knew was always ready to protect this entire community.”
Kyle Israel, who played quarterback at UCF, posted his thoughts on Facebook:
“R.I.P. BIG Norm. You were always a great ambassador for the UCF football program and a guy teammates always loved! Can’t believe catching up with each other two weeks ago was going to be the last time. You will be missed my friend.”
Kim Montes of the Florida Highway Patrol told WFTV that Lewis was a loyal officer.
“He did his job every day and I think the public needs to know whether it’s doing mundane (tasks) or looking for the worst person possible, we are out there doing our jobs, and that’s what he was doing,” Montes said.
CNN’s AnneClaire Stapleton and Holly Yan contributed to this report.