The family of a UPS driver slain on Thursday during a rush-hour hostage situation in Florida blames police for his death.
“They murdered him,” Joe Merino, stepfather of 27-year-old victim Frank Ordonez, told Local 10 News in an interview Friday. “I hope you can understand that and how I feel because it could have been prevented.”
UPS driver killed in carjacking, shootout ID'd as 27-year-old Frank Ordonez; he was covering the route for a driver who had called out, his brother says https://t.co/lYV43SFhGp
— KTLA (@KTLA) December 6, 2019
Merino said Ordonez had two daughters, ages 3 and 6.
Though officials have yet to discuss the precise details of the fatal shooting, a local high-ranking official responded to Merino’s statement.
“Their perceptions are because they have lost loved ones, so you can’t argue with the way they view things,” Miami-Dade Police Director Juan Perez told the outlet. “They’re speaking with pure emotion and, again, I completely understand and I empathize with the loss of their family.”
Ordonez’s brother Roy Ordonez also blamed officers for what happened to the victim.
“[Robbers] 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 wrote in a statement in a verified GoFundMe campaign. He stated that cops were trigger happy, later adding, “Police need to be held accountable.”
Another brother, Luis Ordonez, also criticized the response by law enforcement.
“I saw on TV when he fell, and I knew it was him. I saw how they killed my brother,” Ordonez said.
“Instead of talking to them, [police] just started shooting,” he continued. “I know [the robbery suspects] were shooting back at them, but it was easy to just cover behind police cars. They could have just covered themselves.”
Authorities say that two suspects robbed a jewelry store in Coral Gables, Florida on Thursday. They took Ordonez’s UPS truck, and kidnapped him, investigators said. The chase wound its way from Coral Gables in Miami-Dade County, and ended tragically in the Broward County city of Miramar, where police opened fire on the truck. Officers said that four people–Ordonez, an innocent bystander in a nearby vehicle, and the two robbers–were killed.
The second victim has been identified as 70-year-old Richard Cutshaw.
— Roy Ramos (@RRamosWPLG) December 6, 2019
The FBI, which is leading the investigation into the incident, identified the suspects as Lamar Alexander, 41, and Ronnie Jerome Hill, 41.
The FBI identifies the two deceased individuals responsible for yesterday’s jewelry store robbery, carjacking/kidnapping and shootings as Lamar Alexander, 41, and Ronnie Jerome Hill, 41, both of Miami-Dade County. If anyone has information about these crimes, call 1-855-352-7233
— FBI Miami (@FBIMiamiFL) December 6, 2019
Here’s video of the fatal incident. Please note that it is graphic and disturbing.
Cops just unloaded on an innocent UPS driver that was hostage in an armed robbery. You can watch the video for yourself pretty graphic.
This happened in Miami. pic.twitter.com/OB3W35D3Dz
— Kluebtorious (@rklueber28) December 5, 2019
The apparent consensus online is that based on the video, yes, cops botched the response and killed Ordonez.
In a press conference Thursday night, officials declined to say if law enforcement may have taken the victim’s life. In a joint press conference with police Thursday night, FBI Special Agent in Charge George Piro mentioned that the suspects did shoot at authorities during the chase.
The investigation of the situation is ongoing.
[Screengrab via Local 10]