The Orlando Police Department tweeted Tuesday night that 41-year-old Markeith Loyd was in custody, ending a manhunt that began with the Jan. 9 fatal shooting of Master Sgt. Debra Clayton outside a Wal-Mart store.
Before Clayton's shooting, authorities had sought Loyd for questioning in the killing of his pregnant ex-girlfriend last month.
While at the store, Clayton was tipped off that Loyd was in the area. She approached him in the parking lot and he filed multiple shots at her. Clayton returned fire but didn't hit him. She was wearing body armor, but was hit multiple times, Orlando Police Chief John Mina said.
A deputy then spotted Loyd fleeing in a vehicle and pursued him into a nearby apartment complex, where the suspect fired again, striking the deputy's SUV twice but missing the deputy, the sheriff's office said.
Loyd then carjacked another vehicle and fled, abandoning the second vehicle nearby another apartment complex, which was the focus of the manhunt initially, the sheriff's office said.
A second law enforcement officer, Orange County Sheriff's Deputy First Class Norman Lewis, was killed in a motorcycle crash after joining the massive manhunt.
Hundreds of officers and deputies have 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.
Clayton, 42, was a "committed" officer and "a hero" who gave her life to the community she loves, her chief said. She was married and had a college-aged son. She also grew up in the Orlando area, and enjoyed mentoring young people.
"She was always the first to step up and help kids," the chief said.
A 17-year veteran of the force, Clayton supervised a patrol division in the neighborhood where she was shot, and previously worked in investigations and as a school resource officer, Deputy Chief Orlando Rolon said.
"She made a point, even outside her working hours, to do things for youth and do things for the community," Rolon said.
|© Orlando Police Department via AP 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.|
Accused cop killer seen injured, bloody during arrest
ORLANDO, Fla. - The man accused of killing his pregnant ex-girlfriend and an Orlando police officer remains hospitalized after being taken into custody at the end of a massive nine-day manhunt, reports CBS affiliate WKMG.
Police took Markeith Loyd from Orlando Police headquarters to Orlando Regional Medical Center at 9:30 p.m. after police tracked him down around 7 p.m. Tuesday at an abandoned house. Loyd crawled out of the house wearing body armor and armed with two guns, according to Orlando Police Chief John Mina.
During a Tuesday night press conference, Mina said Loyd initially tried to escape out the back of the house through a sliding glass door, but came out through the front door and dropped the firearms on the ground. One of the guns had a 100-round capacity, Mina said.
Mina said Loyd resisted arrest but no officers were injured during his capture.
In video recorded outside the Orlando Police Department headquarters, Loyd’s face appears bloody and swollen. He sustained injuries that Mina described as “minor” during his capture.
But as Mina was being taken out of police headquarters on his way to the hospital, an at times smiling Mina repeatedly yelled to reporters, “They beat me up.”
Police had searched for Loyd since mid-December, when he was named as a suspect in the murder of his pregnant ex-girlfriend Sade Dixon, 24. That search intensified on Jan. 9, when Orlando Lt. Debra Clayton was fatally shot while approaching a man police believe to be Loyd outside a Walmart.
The shooting triggered the widespread manhunt for Loyd, during which Orange County Deputy Norman Lewis was fatally struck by a vehicle. While Loyd remained on the Lam for another eight days, three people were arrested and accused of helping Loyd avoid capture.
By the time he was tracked down on Tuesday, $125,000 in rewards were being offered for information leading to Loyd’s arrest. Police said they fielded more than 1,400 tips during the search. Police sources told WKMG that no one will be rewarded the money, because officials are attributing the arrest to law enforcement investigative tactics.
No one else was inside the home when Loyd was taken into custody. The house was abandoned, and Mina said it was not clear long Loyd had been hiding inside. Mina added that police believe the house is linked to people known to associate with Loyd. He said more arrests are expected.
Mina said that police used Clayton’s handcuffs to arrest Loyd.
“That’s a tradition in law enforcement that goes back many, many years,” Mina said. “Debra Clayton risked her life for this community that she loves so dearly and to put her handcuffs on the bad guy that she was trying to catch when she was killed is just significant, meaningful to her family....as well as the law enforcement community.”
Clayton’s husband was “relieved and happy” to hear news of the arrest, according to Jay Carr, who acted Tuesday as a spokesperson for the family.
“Seth (Clayton) wants to thank OPD and all law enforcement agencies that assisted in the capture of Markeith Loyd and that he is confident that justice will be served,” Carr said.
Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings called Loyd a “maniac” and said he will be charged with two counts of first-degree murder with a firearm, two counts of aggravated assault with a firearm and one count of attempted murder. Additional charges are likely.
Suspected Orlando Cop Killer Markeith Loyd Had 100-Round Magazine, Police Say
When the man wanted for allegedly gunning down a veteran police sergeant in Orlando, Florida, was caught by police after a nine-day manhunt, he was armed with guns and a magazine with the capacity for 100 rounds of ammunition, police said.
Markeith Loyd -- who was wanted for allegedly killing Master Sgt. Debra Clayton as well as a pregnant woman -- was fleeing a home Tuesday when he was caught, according to cops.
He was wearing body armor and carrying two handguns, including a Glock that contained a magazine with the capacity for 100 rounds of ammunition, Orlando Police Chief John Mina said. Loyd threw the guns to the ground and resisted arrest when police officers tried to detain him, police said.
John Cohen, an ABC News contributor who is a former U.S. counterterrorism official, said the massive magazine Loyd allegedly had can hold an "extraordinary amount of bullets." Cohen said a weapon like the one Loyd was alleged to be carrying "only has one purpose -- to allow the shooter to fire continuously without having to reload."
Cohen said these drum magazines -- which are readily available online -- pose a real challenge for law enforcement because violent criminals can use them to carry out attacks or to defend themselves while they're being sought.
Cohen said the high-capacity magazine -- in addition to the fact that Loyd was wearing body armor -- shows Loyd was "prepared to take on the police" who came to arrest him.
"In the hands of a violent criminal, this type of high capacity magazine could be extraordinarily dangerous, and result in the death of people including police officers," Cohen said.
Orange County Sheriff's office officials said Tuesday that Loyd would be charged with two counts of first-degree murder with a firearm, two counts of aggravated assault and one count of attempted homicide.
Officials said before Clayton was shot, Loyd was wanted for the death of his former girlfriend and her unborn child. Officials said Loyd also allegedly shot and injured the former girlfriend's brother.
Records today show that Loyd was booked on charges of first-degree murder with a firearm, unlawful killing of an unborn child, attempted first-degree murder with a firearm and two counts aggravated assault with a firearm. The sheriff's office did not immediately respond for comment on why records show one murder charge.
He suffered minor injuries in the scuffle with police, Mina said. Loyd is at the Orlando Regional Medical Center and it is unclear when he will be moved to the Orange County Jail. His first court appearance is not clear.