Markeith Loyd taken into custody in slain Orlando officer's handcuffs

Tuesday night arrest brings massive manhunt to end

Orlando police lead Markeith Loyd to a police cruiser that will take him to jail (Photo courtesy: WKMG)
Orlando police lead Markeith Loyd to a police cruiser that will take him to jail (Photo courtesy: WKMG)

ORLANDO, Fla. – The man accused of killing his pregnant ex-girlfriend and an Orlando police officer is in custody after a massive nine-day manhunt, according to the Orlando Police Department.

News of Markeith Loyd's arrest was announced on Twitter Tuesday night by Orlando police. A search for Loyd, 41, has been underway in Central Florida since Lt. Debra Clayton was fatally shot while trying to approach Loyd outside an Orlando Walmart the morning of Jan. 9.

Law enforcement sources told WKMG that authorities surrounded a house on Lescot Lane in Carver Shores and ordered Loyd to surrender Tuesday just before 7 p.m.  Loyd crawled out of the house covered in body armor and armed with two guns, Orlando Police Chief John Mina said during a news conference Tuesday night.

Interactive Timeline: How the hunt and capture of Markeith Loyd unfolded

Mina said Loyd initially tried to escape out the back through a sliding glass door, but came out through the front door and dropped the two guns on the ground.

One of those guns had a 100-round capacity, Mina said.

Loyd resisted arrest but no law enforcement officers were injured during Loyd's capture. Mina said Loyd is being treated for facial injuries, which he described as "minor."

No one else was inside the home when Loyd was taken into custody. The house was abandoned and Mina does not know how long Loyd had been hiding inside.

Though the house was abandoned, it does have ties to some of Loyd's known associates.

“There will be more arrests as the investigation continues,” Mina said. “We know that people did help him out and assisted him.”

Mina tweeted that police used Clayton's handcuffs to arrest Loyd.

"That's a tradition in law enforcement that goes back many many years," Mina said. 

Clayton's husband was "relieved and happy" to hear news of the arrest, but was also upset to hear that the arrest was made right around the corner from Clayton's mother house.

"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," Clayton family spokesperson, Jay Carr told News 6. 

Video recorded outside the Orlando Police Department headquarters shows Loyd with a bloody face and swollen eyes.

"They beat me up," Loyd repeated three times to reporters outside. 

That same video, available above, shows Mina smiling at reporters as he walks into the building.

Loyd has been wanted since he was named as a suspect in the murder of his pregnant ex-girlfriend Sade Dixon, 24, in Pine Hills on Dec. 13.

While assisting in the manhunt for Loyd, Orange County Deputy Norman Lewis was fatally struck by a vehicle while on his service motorcycle. His family told News 6 "Thank you, Jesus" when they heard about the arrest.

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.

TIMELINE: How the hunt for Markeith Loyd unfolded

A $125,000 reward was offered for information leading to Loyd's arrest. More than 1,400 Crimeline tips have been called in since Clayton was gunned down. The U.S. Marshals Service announced Tuesday that Loyd had been added to the 15 Most Wanted list.

In addition to the national interest the agency brings, the U.S. Marshals Service added $25,000 Tuesday to the already $100,000 reward offered for information leading to Loyd's arrest.

Sources told News 6 that no one will be rewarded the Crimeline money because the arrest was due to law enforcement investigative tactics. 

Citing the city, county, state and national law enforcement involved in Loyd’s capture Orange County Commissioner Regina Hill said she is “forever grateful for them bringing this cold-blooded killer to justice.”

Three people have been accused and arrested for helping Loyd avoid capture after Dixon's murder in Pine Hills. One of those people, Zarghee Mayan, told detectives that Loyd has been wearing a bulletproof vest since the December shooting.

The arrest happened a few hours after Mina held a news conference Tuesday afternoon saying that Loyd may have shaved his head to change his appearance. With that announcement, officials released a digitally altered photograph of Loyd without his hair.

During the course of the nine-day manhunt, Mina repeatedly told reporters that Loyd would be taken into custody no matter what.

"We just need that right piece of information to bring him in," Mina said.

Gov. Rick Scott issued a statement on Loyd's capture: 

“I want to thank the Orlando Police Department, the Orange County Sheriff’s Department and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement for their unrelenting focus to find the person responsible for multiple deaths, including two honorable law enforcement heroes, Orlando Police Department Lieutenant Debra Clayton and Orange County Sheriff’s Deputy Norman Lewis. 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. It is sickening that anyone would commit senseless violence against our brave first responders. Ann and I continue to pray for the families of the fallen heroes and hope today’s news provides some relief.”

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