After a manhunt by Central Florida law enforcement agencies that lasted a little more than a week, Orlando Police Chief John Mina says murder suspect Markeith Loyd was found Tuesday night in an abandoned Carver Shores home armed with two guns in his hands and wearing body armor.
Police had been searching for Loyd, 41, since Dec. 13 after he allegedly shot and killed his pregnant ex-girlfriend Sade Dixon and injured her brother. On Jan. 9, someone spotted Loyd at the Walmart on Princeton street and alerted Orlando Police Lt. Debra Clayton. When Clayton tried to detain him, Loyd shot her. She returned the fire but was ultimately killed. During the manhunt that ensued after Clayton's death, Orange County Sheriff’s Deputy, Norman Lewis was killed in a traffic accident. Last week, three people were arrested for allegedly helping Loyd evade capture.
At a press conference, Mina says a team of law enforcement, including officials with Orlando Police, the Orange County Sheriff's Office, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, the U.S. Marshals Service and the Metropolitan Bureau of Investigation, surrounded Loyd around 7 p.m. as he hid in an abandoned home on Lescot Lane.
Loyd tried to escape out of a back sliding-glass door but was confronted by Orlando Police officers, Mina says. After he ran back inside, Loyd surrendered and came out through the front door wearing the armor and holding two guns, including one with a 100-round drum.
Police say he threw both guns to the ground and was subsequently arrested with resistance, though no shots were fired on either side. At one point, Loyd was placed in handcuffs belonging to the slain officer Clayton. Mina says he called Seth Clayton, the officer's husband, to tell him about the capture, and while he was "relieved and happy," he was also "upset to know [Loyd] was arrested right around the corner from Debra’s mother’s house."
Mina says Loyd received facial injuries that "looked minor" to him, and on his way into OPD headquarters, a bloodied Loyd yelled at nearby reporters that police had beat him up. Orlando's police chief adds that Loyd was not caught via a tip from civilians but through the investigative work conducted by officers.
"These guys and girls have been working nonstop for nine days," he says. "I'm extremely proud of them. They've basically been living in their vehicle, using the bathroom in their vehicle to try and do everything they could to bring justice for the Dixon family and for the Clayton family."
Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings says Loyd faces two counts of first-degree murder with a firearm and two counts of aggravated assault with a firearm in relation to the killing of his ex-girlfriend. Loyd is expected to receive additional charges for the fatal shooting of the fallen OPD officer. Mina says the department absolutely expects to arrest more people who aided and abetted the murder suspect.
Orlando City Commissioner Regina Hill, who was friends with Clayton, says she's grateful to law enforcement officials for "not sleeping on this."
"I'm forever grateful for all the hard work that they put into bringing this cold blooded killer to justice," Hill says, adding, "And alive."