Family of UPS driver Frank Ordonez killed in police shootout files lawsuit
The family of a UPS driver killed in the crossfire of a police shootout last December along with another man who was injured in the shooting have filed a lawsuit against the six police agencies involved.
On Dec. 15, 2019, driver Frank Ordonez, 27, was taken hostage by two men, Lamar Alexander and Ronnie Jerome Hill, who stole his UPS truck after robbing a Coral Gables jewelry store. They led police on a high-speed two-county chase.
It came to an end when the UPS truck encountered stopped traffic at an intersection at Miramar Parkway just west of Flamingo Road.
Police exited their vehicles and approached the truck with their weapons drawn, using bystanders’ vehicles as cover.
Ordonez left the steering wheel. Seconds later, a barrage of gunshots rang out. A total of 20 officers, from the different agencies, fired into the carjacked UPS truck.
More than three dozen rounds were fired.
Ordonez, Alexander, Hill and a bystander, Richard Cutshaw, were killed. Carlos Laros was seriously injured.
The lawsuit, filed Monday on behalf of the Ordonez family and Laros, names the Miami-Dade Police Department, Doral Police Department, Broward Sheriff’s Office, Miramar Police Department, Pembroke Pines Police Department and the Florida Highway Patrol.
The suit claims officers involved in the chase and subsequent shootout failed to stop the truck in an area that “was not populated by civilians” and failed to evacuate Miramar Parkway.
The departments are also accused of failing to negotiate with the robbers in an effort to avoid the use of force and failing to communicate with each other to develop a plan to address the hostage situation.
The suit also claims the police agencies failed to follow “standard police procedures and practices for conducting a vehicular pursuit,” they “incorrectly” fired on the truck knowing there were civilian cars around and failed to “respond reasonably to gunfire,” given that Frank Ordonez was still alive.
“As a result of the Defendant’s negligent implementation of its policies, the chances of resolving the hostage scenario, and rescuing Frank Ordonez alive, was eliminated. As a result, Frank Ordonez was shot and killed,” according to the lawsuit.
The suit is seeking specified damages for the Ordonez family and Laros.