ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. Markeith Loyd, the man accused of shooting and killing Orlando police Master Sgt. Debra Clayton nine days ago, was caught Tuesday night, police said.
Orlando police Chief John Mina said Loyd was apprehended at an abandoned home in Orlando’s Carver Shores neighborhood about 7 p.m.
Mina said Loyd was found alone and that it was not one of the hundreds of Crimeline tips that led to Loyd’s capture.
By 9:38 p.m., Loyd was being taken from Orlando Police Headquarters to Orlando Regional Medical Center for injuries he sustained during his arrest. Mina said Loyd resisted arrest.
Once Loyd was at ORMC, hospital staff locked all the doors and would not let any new patients inside without a police escort. The patients’ families had to wait outside.
Loyd is accused of shooting and killing Clayton last week when she tried to approach him at a Walmart. Loyd was already being sought in the shooting death of his pregnant ex-girlfriend, Sade Dixon.
During a press conference Tuesday night, Mina said investigators had been tapping Loyd’s phone, but it recently went silent. He said Loyd later started texting people and investigators were able to zero in on him through pings.
Mina said members of the Orlando Police Department and multiple law enforcement agencies surrounded the home.
He said the abandoned home had been on their radar because it has ties to some of Loyd’s associates.
Mina said Loyd first tried to escape through a sliding-glass door before a SWAT team arrived but was met by Orlando police officers.
Loyd then went back inside the home and then came out the front door with two loaded guns and wearing tactical gear. One of the guns that was in Loyd’s possession can hold dozens of rounds of ammunition, Mina said.
Although police were prepared for a gun battle, that did not happen.
Mina said Loyd dropped the guns but still resisted arrest as they apprehended him.
“We knew he had body armor. We obviously knew he had weapons and obviously (was) not afraid to use those weapons, and I thought this would end up in a much different situation,” Mina said.
The chief said the first person he called was Clayton’s husband.
“He was relieved and happy, but upset to learn (Loyd) was arrested around the corner from Debra’s mom’s house,” Mina said. “We’re very excited a cop killer and someone who’s wanted for the murder of Sade Dixon is off the streets.”
— Karla Ray (@KRayWFTV) January 18, 2017
Investigators spent hours searching the home but cleared the area by 11:30 p.m.
An Orlando police source also told WFTV that Loyd and Clayton had known each other for years.
Police sources told WFTV that Loyd had $200 on him when he was caught.
Mina said at the press conference that it’s tradition to put a fallen officer’s handcuffs on the suspected killer.
“Debra Clayton risked her life for this community that she loved so dearly. So to put her handcuffs on the bad guy she was trying to catch when she was killed is just significant and meaningful,” Mina said.
Loyd’s face was bloody and swollen as a group of officers brought him inside. He was screaming, “They beat me up” as he was led into the Orlando Police Headquarters.
Mina could be seen smiling as his officers took in Loyd.
“I was extremely happy that this dangerous person was off the streets,” he said. “It’s been a roller coaster of emotions throughout the entire week and many of the officers I spoke to tonight actually broke down in tears. They felt like they were finally able to cry and to weep because it was over.”
When Loyd was brought out of headquarters, his face was covered in bandages. Police said he would be brought to Orlando Regional Medical Center and then taken to jail.
Dixon’s mother, Stephanie Dixon-Daniels, told WFTV’s Cuthbert Langley that she was relieved to hear about the arrest.
“A burden just lifted off my chest. I can probably sleep tonight,” she said.
Several of Dixon’s family and friends came out of her house cheering upon hearing news of the arrest.
Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings said the community has been emotionally affected not just by Clayton’s and Sade’s deaths but also by First Class Deputy Norman Lewis’ death.
Lewis, a motorcycle deputy, was responding to the search for Loyd when he was killed in a car accident.
Demings said the community is going to breathe a sigh of relief.
“This maniac, if you will, is off the streets,” said Demings.
Demings said the Orange County Sheriff’s Office will serve Loyd’s arrest warrant Tuesday night in the shooting death of Dixon.
In connection with Dixon’s death, Loyd is facing two counts of first-degree murder, one count of attempted first-degree murder and two counts of aggravated assault.
Three people, including Loyd’s niece, were arrested last week on allegations they helped Loyd hide.
Jameis Slaughter, Loyd’s ex-girlfriend, who was arrested on accessory charges, told deputies that he was calling her on a blocked number and that she had been in constant contact with Loyd.
Mina said more arrests are expected in the coming days.
After hearing the news of Loyd’s arrest, residents in the Parramore and Pine Hills communities were relieved and overjoyed that he was captured, saying they’ve been on edge and living in fear throughout the nine-day manhunt for Loyd.
“It’s just crazy. This guy is off the street and it’s close by. There’s a school. This is a kid zone. I’m glad that everything is over. Everything will be alright,” said a resident, who was not identified.
Some residents said they’ve been afraid to leave their homes.
“Since the incident happened, I just try and stay in my house,” said a resident, who also wasn’t identified. “I’m happy that they got him.”
Markeith Loyd is in custody! pic.twitter.com/A6bOIFAXi5
— Ken Martin (@kenmartinnews) January 18, 2017