No fewer than 11 police officers opened fire in the middle of traffic gridlock on Miramar Parkway during the afternoon rush hour yesterday as TV cameras rolled, ending a pursuit that began with a jewelry-store heist in Coral Gables. The alleged robbers carjacked a UPS truck and took its driver hostage. Four people died: the two robbers, one innocent bystander, and the UPS driver.
Following the shootout, an FBI spokesman said it was too early to say whether the slain victims had been shot by police or the suspected robbers. But the family of the UPS driver, Frank Ordonez, has placed the blame squarely on the cops.
"Today I lost my brother, because of the negligence and stupidity of the police," Ordonez's sister Genny Merino posted on Twitter early this morning. Along with the tweet, Merino posted a video clip of her brother:
My brother was the ups driver they held at gun point. My poor fucking brother who didn’t deserve this.— genny? (@geneviemerino) December 6, 2019
She went on to retweet others who were critical of the way the chase unfolded, including one tweet that simply said, "Lawsuit. Lawsuit. Lawsuit."
Fuck THIS BULLSHIT. Fuck ill-trained law enforcement. Fuck cowards who would rather shoot than properly do their jobs. Guaranteed blindly shooting at a hijacked vehicle with hostages isn’t SOP. Condolences to this family who lost an innocent loved one. https://t.co/FY7XmYYMDh— . (@faythesuzanne) December 6, 2019
Other members of Ordonez's family have given media interviews blasting the law enforcement agencies. Ordonez's stepfather, Joe Merino, told WPLG today he believes police officers murdered his son.
"Where was protocol?" he asked. "Where was SWAT? Where was the hostage negotiator? Where was the sniper?"
Other parties involved took a different approach in public statements. UPS, for example, issued a statement last night thanking officers for taking action, despite the fact that it's still possible that police fire killed their driver.
And while Coral Gables City Hall yesterday was quite literally hit by a stray bullet during the shootout, the city announced this morning that its tree-lighting ceremony will go on as planned.
In the meantime, Genny Merino has initiated a GoFundMe to help pay funeral expenses for her brother.
frank ordonez go fund me https://t.co/R7jjM2C8db please donate. Thank you.— genny? (@geneviemerino) December 6, 2019
"My brother frank ordonez was killed by police officers on 12/5/2019, when two robbers hijacked the UPS truck he was driving," Roy Ordonez wrote online. "They kidnapped my brother and took him on a high speed chase, when they came to a stop he was gun [sic] 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."
As of early this afternoon, the GoFundMe campaign had raised nearly $40,000 — double the amount the family had requested.
Keep Miami New Times Free... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Miami with no paywalls.