Miami-Dade officers charged in shooting that killed UPS driver and bystander in Broward

Four Miami-Dade police officers have been charged in connection with a fatal shooting nearly five years ago at a busy intersection in Broward County, police sources confirmed to the Miami Herald.

The violent shootout, which involved 19 police officers from at least three agencies, occurred on December 6, 2019, as unsuspecting motorists lined Miramar Parkway and Flamingo Road. Earlier that same day, two men carried out a jewelry robbery in Coral Gables and hijacked a UPS delivery truck.

This sparked a high-speed interstate chase – and a shootout that left the robbery suspects and two innocent men dead. For years, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the Broward District Attorney’s Office remained silent about the case. The FDLE concluded its investigation in 2021 and turned over its findings to prosecutors.

The names of the accused officers and the charges against them are currently unknown.

“Grand jury proceedings are secret under Florida law, and any proceedings or actions of a grand jury are not public until a judge makes them public,” the Broward District Attorney’s Office said in a statement. “We are not authorized to comment at this time.”

Miami-Dade police told the Miami Herald there was no comment as of Monday evening.

The officers have been informed of the charges and have been in contact with the police union, said Steadman Stahl, president of the South Florida Police Benevolent Association. They are expected to turn themselves in over the next week.

“We are extremely disappointed that after nearly five years, these officers are now being charged for something that they had only seconds to decide,” Stahl told the Miami Herald. “It has a chilling effect on officers in Broward County that the prosecution charged an officer for failing to respond to a shooting spree and is now charging officers for responding to shooting sprees. As the trial moves forward, we will be watching it and defending our officers.”

Chaos on crowded streets

The events leading to the shooting began to unfold when 41-year-old Lamar Alexander and Ronnie Jerome Hill entered Regents Jewelers at 386 Miracle Mile in Coral Gables disguised as couriers.

One of the men wore a flesh-colored mask and a U.S. Postal Service cap. Both had high-powered weapons – and fired them almost immediately. A bullet ricocheted off the ground and struck an employee in the head, but she survived.

As the store owner reached for a gun, a hail of bullets rained down on him. The men, who had stolen tens of thousands of dollars worth of cash and jewelry, jumped into a truck. They abandoned the vehicle on Southwest Eighth Street and kidnapped Frank Ordonez, a 27-year-old father of two who was making a routine delivery in his UPS truck.

Moments later, police began pursuing the truck, chasing it down Interstate 75. However, when the truck became stuck at the Miramar intersection, chaos broke out.

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The officers hid behind cars. When the firing stopped, Hill and Alexander, who had exchanged more than 200 shots with the officers, were dead.

But the same was true for Ordonez and a 70-year-old local union worker named Rick Cutshaw, who was on his way home when the shooting started.

In 2020, Ordonez’s family members filed a wrongful death lawsuit against six law enforcement agencies, claiming they acted negligently. Broward County Circuit Judge Keathan Frink dismissed the lawsuit after finding that police could not be held liable due to sovereign immunity, a principle that dates back to English common law and largely prevents governments from being sued without their consent.

Attorney Michael Haggard, who represented the family, condemned the police actions as “pure recklessness.”