South Florida Cops Criticized over Shootout that left Two Innocent People Dead
The FBI believes it is "inappropriate to discuss" the fact that police may have killed two innocent people while unloading a barrage of bullets on two other people who had robbed a jewelry store.
The shooting was live streamed nationwide Thursday showing Miami-Dade police chasing a UPS truck that had been hijacked by the robbers and holding the driver hostage inside.
The chase ended when the UPS truck got stuck in rush hour traffic and the cops swarmed out of their cars with their guns blazing.
One of the victims was the driver of the UPS truck who had been taken hostage by the armed robbers after they had hijacked his truck. He has been identified as Frank Ordonez, 27, who had just been promoted to a driver after loading the trucks for five years as a part-timer.
The other victim was an innocent bystander identified as Richard “Rick” Cutshaw, a 70-year-old union representative, according to the Miami Herald. Cutshaw had been driving a car near the UPS truck on a crowded interstate during rush hour when the shooting began.
The two suspects have been identified as Lamar Alexander, 41, and Ronnie Jerome Hill, 41; both who have extensive criminal records and have served time in prison for robbery and assault.
Police said they had no choice but to shoot because the suspects had fired upon them first.
But family members of the UPS driver are outraged, accusing the cops of negligence. And the majority of commenters on social media are outraged as well, questioning why police would place the public at risk over some diamonds that may or may not have been stolen.
"They murdered him," Ordonez's stepfather, Joe Merino, told Local 10.
Videos show police using the cars of innocent drivers to shield themselves from gunfire as they clamor over each other to shoot their guns in what they would probably describe as an act of "officer safety" – which generally means everybody else's safety be damned.
“It’s unfortunate that the bystanders were killed, but the bad guys put all this in motion,” said Steadman Stahl, the president of the Miami-Dade Police Benevolent Association.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of the two innocent bystanders.”
At least 19 cops from five agencies fired their guns at least 200 times.
The backlash on social media is strong. This is what Ordonez's sister had to say on Twitter:
Today I lost my brother, because of the fucking negligence and stupidity of the police. Instead of negotiating with a hostage situation they just shot everyone. (Including my brother) please retweet this so everyone can be aware how stupid these cops are.
Ordonez's brother, Roy Ordonez, also took to Twitter to say “the police killed my brother and they are trying to cover it up.” He has also launched a Go Fund Me page to raise money for his brother's wife and their two children as well as for legal costs to sue police. At this time, the campaign has raised more than $70,000. The initial goal was to raise $20,000.
my brother frank ordonez was killed by police officers on 12/5/2019, when two robbers hijacked the USP truck he was driving. They kidnapped my brother and took him on a high speed chase, when they came to a stop he was gun down like a criminal by the Florida police. He didn't deserve to die the way he did, he was just going to work to provide for his two little girls, which he loved so much. which are now left without a father... frank leaves behind two daughters with the ages of 3 and 6. this go fund me account is raise money for a Lawyer, to cover funeral cost and to help his little daughters school cost. his oldest daughter Hailey sees a speech therapist which UPS payed a potion of. PLEASE SHARE AND MAKE PEOPLE AWARE OF TRIGGER HAPPY POLICE OFFICERS. they could have killed many more people, could have been one of your loved ones. please don't let my brothers death be for nothing. police need to be held accountable.
The incident began around 4:15 p.m. Thursday when the two armed robbers entered Regent Jewelers in Coral Gables posing as postal workers which is how they were buzzed into the store.
Once inside, there was an exchange of gunfire between the suspects and the employees of the store with one stray bullet entering an office window in Coral Gables' city hall across the street.
The two suspects then hijacked the UPS truck and drove it from Miami-Dade County into Broward County with more than a dozen cop cars chasing it.
After a 20-minute pursuit that was live streamed to a national audience, the UPS truck came to a stop after traffic came to a standstill which is when the shooting began.
Check out the videos below of the shooting and the FBI press conference.