Suspected cop killer Markeith Loyd caught
(Photo: Red Huber / Orlando Sentinel)
ORLANDO, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35) - The man accused of killing an Orlando Police officer has been captured following a week-long, massive manhunt.
Orlando Police Chief John Mina said Markeith Loyd, 41, was taken into custody at a home in the Carver Shores area of Orlando, after the house was surrounded by SWAT officers around 7 p.m.
Loyd initially tried to escape out the back of the boarded up home in the area of Raleigh Street and Lescot Lane, officers said. He then ran back inside the house and ultimately surrendered in the front yard.
Chief Mina said Loyd threw two handguns on the ground, one of which had the capacity of firing 100 rounds. Officers said Loyd did offer some resistance, but once subdued, they used fallen Orlando Police Lt. Debra Clayton's handcuffs to secure him. Loyd was later seen with a bloodied face as a half-dozen officers and deputies took him into police headquarters.
During a news conference, Chief Mina would not answer the specifics of how Loyd was captured. He did clarify that Loyd was not caught based on a tip, but rather by "great police work."
"They've basically been living in their vehicles, using the bathroom in their vehicles, to try and do everything they could to bring justice for the Dixon family and for the Clayton family," Mina said.
Before the officer's shooting, authorities had been looking for Loyd for questioning in the death of his pregnant ex-girlfriend, Sade Dixon. Clayton had been tipped off that he was in the area while she was at the store and was shot when she approached Loyd, who then fled.
Loyd will be charged with multiple offenses, said Orange County Sheriff Demings.
In relation to the December shooting of Dixon and her unborn child, Demings said Loyd will be charged with two counts of first-degree murder and two counts of aggravated assault with a firearm, related to the shooting of Dixon's brother and threats against other relatives.
"I believe that our entire community is going to breathe a sigh of relief at this point," Demings said. "They will sleep better knowing tonight that... this maniac is off the streets."
Charges related to the death of Lt. Clayton were not announced, as this is an ongoing investigation.
Loyd has been the focus of a manhunt since Lt. Clayton was killed on Jan. 9 in the parking lot of a Walmart in Orlando, near John Young Parkway and Princeton Street. A deputy with the Orange County Sheriff's Office, Deputy First Class Norman Lewis was also killed in a crash during search efforts for Loyd.
"It is bittersweet, since we came off of the heels of yesterday," said Sheriff Demings, referring to the Sunday funeral service for Deputy Lewis. Clayton's service was held on Saturday.
Police arrested a former supervisor at the fried chicken restaurant where Loyd worked, an ex-girlfriend and a niece last Tuesday and Wednesday on charges of helping him in the weeks after Loyd's ex-girlfriend was fatally shot.
Mina said he expects more arrests in the case for anyone who helped him evade police. He said authorities didn't know how long Loyd been in the house, which was abandoned but does have ties to associates of his.
"Anyone who harbored, aided or abetted him in any way is going to be arrested, and we know from our investigation that people did assist him," Mina said.
Hundreds of officers and deputies had been searching for Loyd, and a $100,000 reward was being offered for information that leads to his arrest. The U.S. Marshals Service had added Loyd to its list of most wanted fugitives Tuesday and added $25,000 to the reward offer.
"Local, state and federal law enforcement have been working around the clock to capture the suspect to ensure no other innocent people were harmed, and he will now be held to the fullest extent of the law," said Florida Gov. Rick Scott in a statement released Tuesday evening. "It is sickening that anyone would commit senseless violence against our brave first responders."
Loyd was taken to Orlando Regional Medical Center for treatment of injuries sustained during his arrest. He was expected to be booked into the Orange County Jail.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.
Some information taken from the Associated Press.