Latest: Markeith Loyd In Custody At Hospital After Massive Manhunt Ends
The manhunt that had Orlando on edge for more than a week ended Tuesday night as police arrested Markeith Loyd.
Loyd was wanted in connection with the fatal shooting of Orlando police officer Debra Clayton.
At around 7 p.m. Tuesday, police surrounded an abandoned house at 1157 Lescot Lane in Orlando's Carver Shores neighborhood. They said Loyd tried to escape out the back and was confronted by police. He retreated inside and tried to slip out the front, where more police were stationed. He then threw down his weapons and surrendered.
Officers put Loyd in the late Clayton’s handcuffs in a tribute to the fallen officer. Clayton was posthumously promoted to the rank of lieutenant.
“Debra Clayton risked her life for the community 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, it’s meaningful,” said Orlando Police Chief John Mina.
Loyd was wearing body armor and had two handguns, including a Glock with a 100-round capacity magazine, when he was caught. Mina said Loyd was captured right around the corner from Clayton’s mother’s house.
Earlier Tuesday, the reward for information leading to Loyd's capture had climbed to $125,000. Mina said it was "great police work" and not an anonymous tip that led to Loyd's arrest.
He said officers working the case were "basically living in their vehicles" for the past week, "to try to do everything they could to bring justice for the Dixon family and the Clayton family."
"So we’re very excited a cop killer, someone who is also wanted for the murder of Sade Dixon is off the streets, the community is safer,” Mina said.
Last week police said they believed Clayton had returned fire after Loyd started shooting, but that Loyd was wearing body armor. At the time, Mina said that information was important for officers to know as they conducted the manhunt because they “want to go home to their families.” And last night, he said he was pleased that the manhunt did not cost additional lives.
"He had weapons, and (he's) obviously not afraid to use those weapons, and honestly I thought this would end up in a much different situation," Mina said. "I’m happy no other officers or citizens were hurt during this arrest."
Loyd was taken from the Orlando Police Department last night. He was wearing bandages on his face with some blood on them. During what’s typically called the "perp walk," a reporter asked Loyd if he had anything he wanted to say for himself. Loyd replied, "Yeah, they beat me."
Mina said force was used because Loyd resisted during the arrest, and that Loyd had "facial injuries." Mina said there's always an investigation into the use of force and that there will be one here.
Police said Loyd is being treated at Orlando Regional Medical Center. No details were available on the specifics his injuries or how long he would be at the hospital.
Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings said Loyd's arrest was "bittersweet," coming off a weekend in which the sheriff's office buried Deputy First Class Norman Lewis, who died in a traffic accident during the search for Loyd. Clayton was laid to rest Saturday.
Demings said Loyd's capture brings relief to the entire community.
"They will sleep better knowing tonight that, I'm going to describe this individual as 'this maniac,' if you will, is off the streets of our community," Demings said. “This community certainly has been emotionally impacted by the set of events during the last week. I believe our entire community will breathe a sigh of relief at this point.”
Demings said Loyd faces two counts of first-degree murder for the deaths of his former girlfriend Sade Dixon and her unborn child last December. He's also being charged with one count of attempted homicide, stemming from the alleged shooting of Dixon's brother, and two counts of aggravated assault with a firearm from the same incident.
None of that includes charges from the last nine days. Loyd is facing the death penalty or life without parole if he’s convicted.