Suspect in Florida officer’s killing released from hospital

Authorities asked the courts on Wednesday to deny bond for the suspect in last week’s fatal shooting of an Orlando police officer as he was hospitalized for most of the day with injuries he got during his arrest.

An affidavit, filed with the Orange County Clerk of Courts a day after 41-year-old Markeith Loyd was arrested in an abandoned home, shows authorities want to make sure he remains in custody, as is customary for a fugitive facing murder charges.

Loyd was arrested Tuesday night after a manhunt that lasted more than a week. He is accused in the killing of Lt. Debra Clayton outside a Wal-Mart store last week and in the death of his pregnant ex-girlfriend, Sade Dixon, last month.

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi said Wednesday that President-elect Donald Trump had a phone conversation with Clayton’s husband. Bondi described the conversation between Trump and Seth Clayton as “a brief, very touching, private conversation between two husbands.”

Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings said 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.”

Loyd’s face was bloodied and swollen when he was taken to police headquarters, and he was hospitalized overnight. He remained in the hospital for most of the day until he was transferred to the Orange County Jail Wednesday evening. He was scheduled for a first court appearance Thursday morning.

“He resisted arrest and there was force used,” Orlando Police Chief John Mina said, without elaborating. “We’ll investigate that use of force just like we investigate every single use of force.”

Loyd’s arrest was the result of detective work, not tips from the public, Mina said, despite a $125,000 reward for information leading to Loyd’s arrest.

Residents of the neighborhood in west Orlando where Loyd was captured said it’s not surprising that the arrest didn’t come from tips, even though it’s a good neighborhood to live in.

“Some people fear repercussions, of whatever, from other people,” said Aaron Chance, who lives a half-dozen homes away from the abandoned home where Loyd was captured. “Some people are reluctant for whatever reasons.”

SWAT team members surrounded the one-story, cinderblock home on Tuesday night. Loyd initially tried to escape out the back but then ran back inside the house. He was wearing body armor and had two handguns when he ran out again, Mina said.

The arrest affidavit said Loyd faces multiple charges related to the death of his ex-girlfriend’s death, Sade Dixon, including first-degree murder, killing of an unborn child by injury to mother, attempted first-degree murder and two counts of aggravated assault. Dixon’s brother also was shot, but not fatally.

The affidavit said that Dixon had been living with Loyd until three days before she was fatally shot outside her parents’ home. Dixon left Loyd and moved in with her parents after the couple had a fight in which he bit her in the shoulder and she required a tetanus shot, according to the affidavit.

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 Dixon 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 his associates.

“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.

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Mike Schneider

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