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UPS hijacking shootout: Almost 200 rounds fired between police and suspects, Florida official says

Those are preliminary figures from the early stages of the investigation into the December 5 shootout that left four people dead, FDLE Special Agent Troy Walker said Wednesday. His comments came during a roundtable discussion with the Miami-Dade County Community Relations Board’s Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement Committee.

The investigation, Walker said, will not be over any time soon.

“We are not going to cut any corners whatsoever,” he told community members. “So whatever time it takes for us to do that, that’s what we’re going to do, because we owe it to you all.”

The incident began when two suspects robbed a jewelry store in Coral Gables and hijacked a UPS truck, taking the driver hostage, according to officials. They led police on a lengthy chase that ended in the shooting at a busy intersection in Miramar, where bystanders’ cars became shields for police as they exchanged gunfire with the suspects.

The gunbattle lasted less than one minute.

Police release 911 calls from shootout with men who stole UPS truck

It’s unclear who opened fire first. Four people were killed in the chaos, including the suspects; the UPS driver, Frank Ordonez; and a bystander, Richard Steven Cutshaw. Autopsies have been performed on all four, Walker said. Some preliminary details were provided to the victims’ families.

Walker asked the community for patience, telling residents that investigators had collected thousands of hours of footage from body cameras, news outlets and red light cameras. They’ve also compiled hours and hours of police radio transmissions.

“We have our work cut out for us,” Walker said. “I can’t stress it enough: be patient with us through this process.”

The findings of the FDLE’s investigations will be provided to the law enforcement agencies involved to assist with their own internal affairs investigations, Walker said.

Officers from at least four agencies were involved in the shootout, he said, including Florida Highway Patrol, Miami-Dade Police, Pembroke Pines Police and Miramar Police.

In the weeks since the shooting, police have faced questions about how they responded to the incident and the tactics they used.

Joe Merino, Ordonez’s stepfather, told NBC’s “Today” show earlier this month that his stepson’s death was “unnecessary,” saying, in part, “other tactics should have been applied, and they weren’t.”

At Wednesday’s roundtable discussion, Miami-Dade Police Director Juan Perez said officers are trained to deescalate all situations, but sometimes it’s just not possible.

“In order to negotiate with somebody,” Perez said, “they can’t be shooting at you.”

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UPS shooting: Police release 911 calls from shootout with men who stole truck

Many of the calls came from people who found themselves in a police shootout when a hijacked UPS truck came to a stop at a crowded intersection in Miramar, a city in South Florida.

As gunfire erupted, the vehicles stopped at the traffic light became shields for the police officers trying to stop two suspects, who had taken over the UPS truck after robbing a jewelry store.

Of those who called, many did so to report bullet holes in their cars. The calls were released by the Miramar Police Department.

One woman said her car was right next to the UPS truck. She managed to wiggle out, she says in her call, but her car was still damaged.

Another man, whose truck was caught in the crossfire, told the operator the bullets passed “all the way through my truck,” including his daughter’s car seat. “Thank God” she wasn’t there, he said.

One woman, calling from a beauty salon close to the incident, said she saw all her coworkers running, though she didn’t hear the gunshots herself. Another man called on behalf of his wife, who was at a nearby beauty salon, heard the gunshots and got scared.

Another woman’s tire was shot, leaving her car stranded. When asked if she was OK, she said, “I’m all right, I just got a little shaken up. But I was able to get away eventually.”

How a robbery turned into a police chase

The shooting in Miramar began when two suspects robbed Regent Jewelers in Coral Gables, authorities said. At least one woman was hurt in the initial robbery.

While attempting to flee the crime scene, the suspects hijacked the UPS truck, taking the driver hostage and speeding away. The suspects made it at least 25 miles away, hopping curbs, maneuvering around other vehicles and dodging police.

The chase ended at the intersection of Miramar Parkway and Flamingo Road, just over an hour after the initial robbery. The truck was boxed in by rush-hour traffic, and more than 40 police and emergency vehicles were in its wake.

At least 18 officers fired their guns in UPS hijacking shootout, union official says

Officers exited their vehicles and used the surrounding cars as shields to approach the UPS truck. It is unclear who opened fire first

In the chaos, the two robbery suspects, the UPS truck driver taken hostage and a man driving home from work, were killed.

The UPS driver was Frank Ordonez, a 27-year-old man who relatives say had been substituting for a colleague who had called out from work that day.
The man driving home from work was 70-year-old Richard Steven Cutshaw, according to the Broward County, Florida, medical examiner’s office.

The slain robbers and hijackers were Lamar Alexander, 41, and Ronnie Jerome Hill, 41, both of Miami-Dade County, the FBI said.

CNN’s Jason Hanna, Amanda Watts and Melissa Gray contributed to this report.

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Community mourns UPS driver, bystander killed in police shootout in Miramar – WSVN 7News | Miami News, Weather, Sports

MIRAMAR, FLA. (WSVN) – A grieving community is coming together two days after a police shootout in Miramar claimed two innocent lives, including a UPS driver whose vehicle was carjacked, as unanswered questions about the officers’ violent actions continue to swirl.

Saturday afternoon, a stuffed animal, balloons, flowers, a UPS hat and even a FedEx package with condolence note written on it, sat along Miramar Parkway near the spot where, investigators said, police officers and two armed robbers opened fire back on Thursday.

The message from FedEx was left in memory of Frank Ordonez, the UPS driver who, authorities said, was taken hostage by the suspects shortly after they robbed Regent Jewelers along Miracle Mile in Coral Gables, Thursday afternoon.

“He didn’t deserve what happened to him, at all,” said a mourner.

The FedEx note reads in part, “Thank you for what you did out in the city for everyone. R.I.P. Frank Ordonez.”

“I never would have thought this would happen. He was my best friend,” his sister, Genevieve Ordonez, told Inside Edition.

Ordonez, the third oldest of six siblings, was 27 years old. He leaves behind two daughters ages 3 and 5.

According to investigators, the chaotic chain of events first began when Lamar Alexander and Ronnie Jerome Hill, both 41, robbed Regents Jewelry at gunpoint.

At some point, police said, bullets went flying, injuring one person, and the duo got away.

Just a few blocks away, officials said, the robbers carjacked Ordonez’s truck and held him hostage, then led police on a 30-mile chase to Miramar.

It all ended in a hail of gunfire, as video shows several officers discharging their firearms at Alexander and Hill while they and Ordonez were still inside the vehicle.

All three of them were fatally struck in the crossfire. A fourth victim, identified by police as 70-year-old Richard Cutshaw, was also shot and kill as he sat behind the wheel of his black sedan stuck in traffic.

Residents of the Pembroke Pines neighborhood where Cutshaw lived by himself were still reeling over the tragic news Friday night.

“Mr. Cutshaw was a very nice gentleman, very friendly, just a loving person, just real nice guy,” said neighbor Elaine Vega. “It’s a shock to all of us.”

About 48 hours later, many of the cars caught in the middle of the gun battle were brought to Miramar City Hall for processing. As of Saturday night, only an SUV and a sedan remained there.

As this lengthy investigation continues, Ordonez’s family said they are demanding accountability and justice.

“Frank doesn’t have a voice, and what’s upsetting about the whole thing is is that officers that shot and killed — I’ll rephrase that, officers that murdered my son — will go home to their wife and kids,” said his stepfather, Joe Merino. “Frank never came home that night.”

The FBI and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement continue to investigate.

The family has set up a GoFundMe page for Ordonez. To donate, click here.

Copyright 2019 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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MDPD Director Juan Perez On Deadly Shootout, 13 Officers On Administrative Leave – CBS Miami

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Miami-Dade Police Director Juan Perez says 13 of the 19 officers who fired their weapons during the deadly shootout in Miramar were from his department and are now on administrative leave.

Thursday’s violent chain of events began with a jewelry store robbery which led to a stolen UPS truck and two-county police chase that ended in a hail of gunfire at a busy intersection during rush hour.

Director Perez tried to hold back tears while talking about the investigation to CBS4’s Ty Russell.

He said what hurts the most is that two innocent lives were taken.

UPS driver Frank Ordonez was killed in the gunfire after being taken hostage in Coral Gables. The fourth victim, in another car at the Miramar intersection, was “an innocent bystander,” according to the FBI.

That “innocent bystander” has been identified by a neighbor as 70-year-old Richard Cutshaw of Pembroke Pines.

Perez said the 19 officers who fired their weapons were from four different law enforcement agencies.

Thirteen of those officers were from the Miami-Dade Police Department and are now on administrative leave.

Perez defended the actions of his officers.

“From what we know, I don’t know of anything else that could’ve been done,” the director told CBS 4 News.

The police director said he doesn’t know what kind of guns the suspects had.

The FBI is releasing information about the suspects and already identified them as Lamar Alexander and Ronnie Hill, both 41, of Miami-Dade.

This close up shot of a stolen UPS truck involved in a deadly shootout out in Miramar shows some bullet holes in the front windshield. (CBS4)

When asked why pursuing officers didn’t use stop sticks, to slow the UPS truck down, he said not all officers have them. He also added that officers who may have had them may not have seen a safe opportunity to use them.

Perez explained officers were shot at during the chase, not just at the end.

He also explained why officers moved in closer to the truck moments before the shootout.

“I would also want to move up. Why? Because I would want to get between the civilians and the two perpetrators. The two violent felons that are continuing to shoot at least enforcement. I want to put myself on the front lines. The officers did come up and in that process, from what I understand, one of the subjects shot at officers and that prompted the shootout at that scene,” he explained. “I don’t know what anything else could’ve been done, right now. At the end of this investigation, at the end of our debriefings and piecing this together and critiquing, which we do after any critical incident, we may find opportunities to improve on how we respond to situations.”

Director Perez described the ending as the worst-case scenario.

“We are going to look at this incident and self-critique it and to see what could’ve been done differently. Obviously, the results weren’t ideal,” he said.

As the FBI investigates the gunmen, the FDLE is investigating the actual shootout involving officers.

When asked about responding to the families of the two innocent victims, he says there is not much he can say to make the distraught and grieving families feel any better.

He also held back tears during the interview about the investigation since two innocent people were killed.

“I care. I care about this community. I care. I’m a father and a husband,” he said.

The department is waiting on the medical examiner to determine if the suspects or bullets from officers struck the two innocent people.

The director told us the FLDE and the State Attorney’s Office will look into officers’ actions to see if there was any wrongdoing.

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Michigan woman called a friend to say she was in a shootout in October, police say. She hasn’t been seen since

Adrienne Quintal, 47, called a family friend at 2:34 a.m. on October 17 asking for help, the Benzie County Sheriff’s Office said. She told her friend she had shot one man in the face and the other man was shooting at her, according to the sheriff’s office.

She asked the friend to call police and give them an address on Indian Hill Road in Honor, the sheriff’s office said. Honor is about 250 miles northwest of Detroit.

Deputies responded to an address at 2:50 a.m. but could not find a disturbance. They called dispatchers and were given a corrected address where they found a cabin with multiple bullet holes in a window.

No one was found in the cabin, but authorities said they found a handgun registered to Quintal, as well as her cell phone, car and purse.

While no blood or evidence of someone injured was found in the cabin, investigators did find spent shell casings that suggested multiple shots had been fired from inside of the cabin to the outside.

Deputies used K9 search teams and thermal imaging cameras to search the woods around the cabin but did not find anyone.

Now, the sheriff’s office and Michigan State Police are asking anyone with information about Quintal’s whereabouts to call authorities.

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