Markeith Loyd, the man suspected of shooting and killing Orlando police Master Sgt. Debra Clayton, has been arrested and is currently in custody. After a nine-day manhunt, authorities had just announced they increased the reward for his capture to $125,000 and the U.S. Marshals Service added Loyd to its top 15 most-wanted fugitives list.
“We’ve got him! Markeith Loyd in OPD Custody,” the OPD tweeted. “Details to come.”
We’ve got him! Markeith Loyd in OPD ICustody. Details to come. Media: stand by for details on press conference. pic.twitter.com/SVjFUEvNak
— Orlando Police (@OrlandoPolice) January 18, 2017
“This is a man who gunned down a pregnant woman and a police officer who was doing her job to protect our community,” Chief John Mina said Tuesday afternoon. “I think every law enforcement officer in Central Florida is actively looking for him.”
The FBI, Homeland Security, Florida Department of Law Enforcement and U.S. Marshals Service are all involved in the effort along with local agencies to find Loyd, whom they believed might have changed his appearance to evade capture.
A shopper had tipped off Master Sgt. Clayton — who was putting bags in the trunk of her vehicle — that Loyd was in the Walmart waiting to check out. As the officer walked towards the store, the suspect barged out and fired at least 12 shots.
Loyd, 41, was accused of murdering his pregnant girlfriend Sade Dixon in December and a warrant had been issued for his arrest. The FBI, Homeland Security, Florida Department of Law Enforcement and U.S. Marshals Service are all involved in the effort along with local agencies to find Loyd.
Loyd has a long wrap sheet and extensive criminal history. On Nov. 30, he wrote on his Facebook page, “Goals!!!! To be on Americas most wanted.”
On Dec. 13, Loyd had gone to his girlfriend’s home on Long Peak Drive and began banging on the door. When Dixon answered, he shot her and her 26-year-old brother, Ronald Steward. He was critically wounded and five other people were home at the time of the shooting, including Dixon’s 5- and 7-year-old children.
Orange County Sheriff Deputy Jerry Demings said a motorcycle deputy was killed in a crash with a 78-year-old driver during the manhunt effort to capture the suspect. Worth noting, that particular Monday was Law Enforcement Appreciation Day. Master Sgt. Clayton was one of the first officers to respond to the mass shooting at the Pulse nightclub in June that left 49 people dead and more than 50 injured. Chief Mina called Clayton, a mother of two, a hero.
Chief Mina also maintained Loyd received help on the lamb even after detectives arrested three people just this week who are accused of helping him avoid arrest before Clayton was killed. Loyd’s niece, Lakensha Smith-Loyd, and his ex-girlfriend, Jameis Slaughter, each faces a charge of accessory after the fact to first-degree murder.