ORLANDO -- A 33-year-old man has been arrested in Florida on charges he helped Markeith Loyd, a fugitive suspected of killing his pregnant ex-girlfriend and fatally shooting an Orlando police officer, leading to a massive manhunt in which another deputy died in a traffic accident.
Zarghee Mayan, of Orlando, is suspected of aiding Loyd after the murder the ex-girlfriend, 24-year-old Sade Dixon, who was slain Dec. 13 at a home in Pine Hills.
Orange County Sheriff’s Office deputies in metro Orlando had been searching for Loyd for questioning when Master Sgt. Debra Clayton approached him in the parking lot of a Wal-Mart store in northwest Orlando Monday. Police say Loyd fatally shot the 17-year veteran. Many of her colleagues immediately joined the pursuit; among them was a sheriff’s deputy who died when he was thrown from his motorcycle in an accident. Loyd, 41, has been on the run since.
Mayan was arrested by the Orange County Sheriff’s Office on a charge of accessory after the fact to first-degree murder in the Dixon case, reports CBS affiliate WKMG.
Deputies had come close to catching Loyd but he had eluded them, Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings said before Mayan’s arrest.
“There have been times when we just missed him. He has been able to avoid capture,” Demings said.
Mayan was with Loyd as recently as Saturday, according to an arrest affidavit obtained by WKMG. He was also with Loyd the night Dixon was killed, according to the affidavit.
Two days before Loyd allegedly shot and killed Clayton, Loyd went to Mayan asking for food and money, the documents say. Loyd told Mayan, according to the documents, that he would shoot any officer who tried to stop him.
As the third day of the manhunt for Loyd started Wednesday, authorities had raised the reward for information leading to his arrest from $60,000 to $100,000.
More than 300 tips from the public have been made, said Barb Bergin, executive director of Crimeline, the tip-line service which is offering the reward and warns in notices that Loyd is “armed and extremely dangerous.”
“We will not identify you. We just need to know where he is so no one else is hurt,” Bergin said in a plea for more tips.
Court documents show Loyd’s criminal record goes back two decades.
He was arrested in 1996 on a murder charge that was later dropped. Loyd was arrested for battery on an officer in 1998 and sentenced to more than four years in prison.
While behind bars, he pleaded guilty to cocaine possession from a prior case and was transferred to federal prison. Federal records show he was released in July 2014.
More recently, his wife whom he is in the process of divorcing, had filed a request for a temporary injunction against him in 2015, and he followed with a similar request against her three days later. Both requests were eventually dismissed in court. He also had paternity suits from three different women filed against him.
His Facebook profile had videos of him working out at a gym and hanging out at a nightclub. He said in a November post, “Goals!!!! To be on Americas (sic) most wanted,” followed by a series of laughing-with-tears emojis.
“Certainly it’s upsetting he was out and about and killed Debra Clayton, our first homicide in the city of Orlando this year, one of the officers protecting our community,” Orlando Police Chief John Mina said.
A vigil was held for Clayton on Tuesday night, and in the Wal-Mart parking lot, shoppers laid more than two dozen bouquets of flowers, teddy bears and candles in a makeshift memorial. Some shoppers, like Hal Shore, stopped to say a prayer or take a photo.
“It’s important that the country is aware that there is a war against police officers,” said Shore, a cabinet maker.
An Orange County Sheriff’s Office deputy was killed more than two hours after Monday’s shooting when a van collided with his motorcycle as he responded to the manhunt. Demings described the 35-year-old Norman Lewis as “a gentle giant,” and the sheriff’s office said he had played football for the University of Central Florida before joining the agency 11 years ago.
Funerals were planned for Lewis for Friday and Clayton for Saturday.