Orlando Police Master Sgt. Debra Clayton was shot and killed on the morning of January 9, the Orlando Police Department said. Police identified the suspect as Markeith Loyd, who is also wanted in connection with the murder of his 24-year-old pregnant girlfriend Sade Dixon in December. The manhunt for Loyd ended on January 17, nine days after the shooting. Police increased the reward for any information on his whereabouts from $60,000 to $100,000 before he was caught.
During the search for Loyd, police say they have arrested Zaghee Mayan, Loyd’s former boss who gave him free food on January 8 while knowing that Loyd was on the run for allegedly killing Dixon; Loyd’s niece Lakensha Smith-Loyd; and Loyd’s ex-girlfriend Jameis Slaughter.
In a tweet on January 10, Orlando police asked citizens to “Please continue to be vigilant and help us bring this killer to justice.”
After Clayton was shot, Orange County Sheriff’s Deputy First Class Norman Lewis, who was on a motorcycle, was killed in an accident during the manhunt for Loyd. Orlando Police later announced that the reward for anyone who knows the location of Loyd is up to $100,000. During the press conference, Orlando Police Chief John Mina vowed to “bring that dirtbag to justice.”
On January 17, nine days after the shooting, Orlando Police announced that the 41-year-old Loyd was captured. He was transported in Clayton’s handcuffs, police said.
Orlando Police said that they will provide further updates on its Twitter page. During the press conference, police said Loyd was wearing body armor.
Here’s a video of Loyd in custody:
During his first court appearance on January 19, Loyd defended his crimes and used profanity while talking to the judge, The Orlando Sentinel reported. The judge tried to get him to be quiet, telling him that everything was being recorded. But he insisted on continuing and claimed police were “making up” the events of the night Sade Dixon was killed.
Loyd was seen wearing white gauze covering his left eye and a bandage around his head. He is being held at the Orange County Jail without bail. During a press conference, Mina was spotted jaywalking before captured.
Police also released video of his arrest. It appears to show two police officers kicking Loyd while he’s already on the ground.
Here’s what we know about the shooting and the suspect.
1. Officer Debra Clayton, a 17-Year Police Veteran, Tried to Arrest Loyd at a Walmart
Clayton was shot and killed after 7:15 a.m. Orlando police announced that there was an “OPD officer involved shooting” at 7:51 a.m. on Twitter. Police said in their report that Clayton reported in at 7:17 a.m. that she was going to try to arrest a murder suspect. Police say that suspect was Loyd.
Two minutes after Clayton’s report, other officers who arrived at the scene radioed that an officer was shot. The first responding officer performed CPR and Clayton was rushed to Orlando Regional Medical Center. She was pronounced dead at 7:40 a.m. on January 9.
The shooting happened in the parking lot of the Princeton Street Walmart, police told WESH.
During a press conference, Orlando police announced that Master Sgt. Debra Clayton was the victim. She died at 7:40 a.m.
“(The shooter) was an average looking dude, he walked by me, had a security vest and everything,” witness James Herman told WFTV. “I was walking down the sidewalk, right past the officer, and I heard her tell him to stop, or whatever, and he shot her. He shot her down. He took off running. It’s unreal.”
Police said that Clayton was hit three times.
In a press conference on January 12, Chief John Mina said police have found Loyd’s pants and shirt, which showed that he was wounded by Clayton during the shooting. However, Loyd was wearing a bulletproof vest. Mina said that Loyd shot at Clayton, even when she was laying on the ground, The Orlando Sentinel report.
Mina stressed that they still consider Loyd dangerous and that citizens should not try to find him themselves. “We don’t want people going out there and taking things into their own hands. They won’t get a reward if they do that,” Mina said.
He also said that the search area for Loyd has expanded to include Polk County, where he has relatives.
2. The Orange County Sheriff’s Office Said Loyd Also Shot at a Deputy & Missed
The Orange County Sheriff’s Office launched the manhunt for Loyd after he shot a deputy, The Orlando Sentinel reports. The Sheriff’s Office tweet, seen below, did not mention the shooting of the Orlando Police officer. The office asked the public not to approach Loyd.
The Orlando Police Department said that after shooting Clayton, Loyd fled the scene in a vehicle. While pulling into an apartment complex, a Sheriff’s deputy spotted him. Loyd fired at the deputy’s unmarked SUV twice, but did not hit the deputy.
Loyd then stole a vehicle and fled the scene, police say. He then left the carjacked vehicle near Rosemont and Cinderlane Parkway.
According to WESH, Loyd shot at the Sheriff’s deputy after shooting the police officer.
The Sheriff’s office said that the manhunt was focused near Rosemont and Cinderlane Parkway. “Markeith Loyd is considered armed and dangerous. We are asking the public to assist us with his whereabouts. However, we ask the public not to approach him and call 911 instead,” the Sheriff’s office stated on Facebook.
After Loyd was captured on January 17, Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer issued the following statement:
I am grateful for the hard work and dedication of OPD and all the law enforcement agencies involved for taking this dangerous criminal off the streets of our city. Our officers never gave up, our residents provided tip after tip and tonight we can feel some relief that justice will be served. Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with the family and friends of Lt. Debra Clayton and Deputy Norman Lewis, heroes our community will never forget.
3. Clayton Died at a Hospital Minutes After the Shooting & A Deputy Died During the Search for Loyd
Clayton, the police officer Loyd is suspected of shooting, was taken to Orlando Regional Medical Center. But three hours after the shooting, the police department posted the above video on Twitter, announcing that the officer died. Police confirmed on Twitter that she died at 7:40 a.m., around a half-hour after the shooting.
Orlando City Commissioner Regina Hill posted a message on Facebook that read, “Oh God!!!! Please pray for my OPD Liaison, she’s been shot down in Pinehills.”
Police said on Twitter that Clayton worked the day shift patrol and will be “missed beyond words. She always had a smile” and would high-five every kid she came across.
The Orlando Sentinel reports that Florida Governor Rick Scott was in Orlando for another event, but has cancelled it due to the shooting.
Orlando Police Chief John Mina said that officials spoke to Clayton’s family and was committed to community work.
The Orlando Sentinel reports that police confirmed during a press conference that a second law enforcement officer died during the search for Loyd. The Sheriff’s Deputy was on a motorcycle when the deputy was injured. The deputy was taken to the hospital and pronounced dead there.
The Sheriff’s Office announced on Twitter that the deputy was Deputy First Class Norman Lewis, an 11-year veteran.
4. Loyd Is Also the Suspect in the Murder of a Pregnant Woman in December
Loyd is the suspect for the murder of Sade Nixon, who was killed in December, reports WESH. She was Loyd’s ex-girlfriend and about three months pregnant at the time of the murder. She was 24 years old.
Police said that her brother, Ronald Steward, 26, came to help her, but was also shot at the scene. He was taken to Orlando Regional Medical Center in critical condition after the shooting.
Police said that Dixon was killed in a home on Long Peak Drive, with her 5-year-old and 7-year-old children in the home. Her parents were also home at the time.
The Orlando Sentinel obtained court documents that show 33-year-old Zarghee Mayan was arrested on the night of January 10, and charged with accessory to first-degree murder after the fact. Authorities say Mayan helped Loyd escape. Detectives first talked to Mayan after Loyd allegedly killed Dixon in December, telling authorities that Loyd forced him to drop him off somewhere in Orlando at gunpoint.
After Clayton’s death, police spoke with Mayan again and he told a different story, the Sentinel reports. According to the arrest report, Mayan told police that he was buying marijuana on Jackson Street on December 13 when Loyd jumped into his truck and forced him to drive to Loyd’s ex-wife’s home.
Mayan first told police that he hadn’t seen Loyd since December 13, but that was a lie, police said. When he was arrested, Mayan told police that he met with Loyd at the Texas Fried Chicken restaurant on January 8. When Mayan hugged Loyd, he felt Loyd wearing a bulletproof vest and carrying a gun. Mayan told police that between December 13 and January 8, he met Loyd’s niece to give her $200 he owed Loyd for hours he worked at the restaurant, the arrest record showed.
The Sentinel later reported on January 11 that court records show that police also arrested Lakensha Smith-Loyd and Jameis Slaughter. Smith-Loyd is Loyd’s neice and Slaughter is his ex-girlfriend. Like Mayan, they were charged with accessory to first-degree murder after the fact.
5. Loyd Posted ‘Time to Power Back Up’ on Facebook Before Dixon’s Death
Loyd is a graduate of Maynard Evans High School, according to his Facebook page. He hasn’t used his Facebook page since December 13, when he posted “Time to power back up.” That was hours before Dixon was shot on December 13.
Another post on Loyd’s page reads, “Orlando Fla.. ,when you talk about street legends mention ME!!!!! Me!!!! Y’all know what is ,real n***a turned into a man with time.. Love y’all.”
Loyd also has a criminal record, The Orlando Sentinel notes. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison and five years of probation for conspiracy with intent to distribute cocaine, federal court records show. His probation ended in 2014.