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Slain Florida Officer Awarded Agency’s Highest Honor

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — A slain Florida police officer has been recognized with her department’s highest honors.

Lt. Debra Clayton was fatally shot in January while trying to arrest a man suspected of killing his pregnant ex-girlfriend. On Wednesday, the Orlando Police Department posthumously commended Clayton with the Purple Heart Award and the Award of Valor.

The agency also honored officer Branden Thornton and Jeremy Sisk and Cpl. Robert Schellhorn with the Award of Merit for their response to the shooting scene on Jan. 9.

police officer
In this image made from video and released by the Orlando Police Department, officers salute Master Sgt. Debra Clayton Monday, Jan. 9, 2017, in Orlando, Fla. A massive manhunt is underway in central Florida as authorities searched for a man accused of shooting and killing officer Clayton. The suspect has been identified as Markeith Loyd, 41, according to the Orlando Police. Photo: Orlando Police Department via AP.

Markeith Loyd was captured after a massive manhunt. He faces multiple charges for the deaths of 42-year-old Clayton and 24-year-old Sade Dixon, who was shot last December.

The case prompted a legal skirmish over the death penalty between the state attorney and Florida Gov. Rick Scott.