Florida UPS employee Frank Ordonez was killed in a shootout between police and robbery suspects after his truck was hijacked, his family told news media Friday.
Ordonez’s brother Roy confirmed to WFOR-TV in Miami and CNN that Ordonez was killed in the Thursday shootout in Miramar, just north of Miami.
Roy Ordonez described his brother, a 27-year-old father, as “outgoing and happy,” and told CNN that “what Frank really liked to do is spend time with his daughters.”
Ordonez was one of two innocent civilians killed in the shootout. The other, a bystander at the busy intersection during rush hour traffic, has not been identified.
Video captured after the high-speed chase shows how the fatal shootout unfolded.
The video appears to show dozens of cars and law enforcement vehicles. Lights flash and sirens blare as several officers can be seen approaching the UPS truck. Gunfire erupts, and two civilian cars attempt to inch away from the line of fire.
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The two alleged robbers were also killed in the shootout, about 20 miles from the site of the initial robbery, said George Piro, FBI special agent in charge, during a news conference.
Police in Coral Gables responded to the robbery at a Regent Jewelers store shortly after 4 p.m., Chief Ed Hudak said, and were met with gunfire from two suspects.
The suspects then fled in a truck and hijacked the UPS delivery truck about 20 minutes later, Piro said, taking the driver as a hostage. Police chased the suspects until they stopped in one of the middle lanes of a busy roadway, caught behind a wall of other vehicles waiting for a red light to turn green.
Police approached the truck, and the suspects opened fire amid rush hour traffic. Piro said the suspects had shot at police during the chase, too.
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Who shot the innocent civilians?
It is unknown whether bullets fired by police killed Ordonez or the bystander in a nearby vehicle, Piro said Thursday.
“It is very, very early on in the investigation and it would be completely inappropriate to discuss that,” Piro said. “We have just began to process the crime scene. As you can imagine, this is going to be a very complicated crime scene.”
Ordonez’s stepfather, Joe Merino, told NBC News that when he saw the video of the chase, “I knew he was dead. He wasn’t moving.”
“For this to happen, I think, it was just unnecessary,” Merino said. “Other tactics should have been applied, and they weren’t, so when I say the word devastated, it’s an understatement.”
Investigators will need to examine the intersection where the shootout occurred, the site where the UPS truck was stolen and the jewelry store, Piro said. It was not immediately clear whether suspects stole anything from the store after triggering a silent alarm that alerted police, Hudak said. A store worker also was injured during the incident, police said.
UPS spokesman David Graves said the company would cooperate with authorities.
“We are deeply saddened to learn a UPS service provider was a victim of this senseless act of violence,” Graves said in a statement. “We extend our condolences to the family and friends of our employee and the other innocent victims involved in this incident.”
Miami-Dade’s police union did not immediately respond to request for comment.