Suspect in Florida officer’s killing captured after manhunt

Markeith Loyd is escorted out of the Orlando Police headquarters in Orlando, Fla., Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2017. The suspect in the fatal shooting of an Orlando police officer was captured Tuesday night after eluding a massive manhunt for more than a week, authorities said. (Red Huber/Orlando Sentinel via AP)

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — A Florida man wanted in the fatal shootings of his pregnant ex-girlfriend and an Orlando police officer was wearing body armor and had two handguns when he was arrested at an abandoned house, authorities said.

Markeith Loyd, 41, was taken into custody Tuesday night after the home was surrounded by SWAT officers, Orlando Police Chief John Mina said during a news conference. Loyd initially tried to escape out the back but then ran back inside the house. Loyd’s face was bloodied when he resisted officers taking him into custody, the chief said.

Loyd is accused in the Jan. 9 killing of Lt. Debra Clayton outside a Wal-Mart store and in the death of his ex-girlfriend, Sade Dixon, 24, last month. Authorities said he killed the officer when she tried to take him into custody.

Mina said the arrest was the result of the tireless efforts of hundreds of officers.

“They’ve basically been living in their vehicles, using the bathroom in their vehicles, to try and do everything they could to bring justice for the Dixon family and for the Clayton family,” Mina said.

Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings said at the news conference that the arrest is bittersweet, noting that in addition to Clayton, a deputy in his agency, Norman Lewis, died in a traffic crash during the manhunt for Loyd.

“I believe that our entire community is going to breathe a sigh of relief at this point,” Demings said. “They will sleep better knowing tonight that… this maniac is off the streets.”

Demings said Loyd would be charged with two counts of first-degree murder in Dixon’s death. Loyd will also face one count of attempted first-degree murder and two counts of aggravated assault with a firearm related to the shooting of Dixon’s brother and threats against other relatives.

Police arrested a former supervisor at the fried chicken restaurant where Loyd worked, an ex-girlfriend and a niece on charges of helping him in the weeks after Loyd’s ex-girlfriend was fatally shot.

Mina said he expects more arrests in the case for anyone who helped him evade police. He said authorities didn’t know how long Loyd been in the house, which was abandoned but does have ties to associates of his.

“Anyone who harbored, aided or abetted him in any way is going to be arrested, and we know from our investigation that people did assist him,” Mina said.