Frank Ordonez, taken hostage after his UPS delivery truck was carjacked by robbers and ultimately killed during a police shootout in South Florida. © Frank Ordonez / Facebook
‘They murdered him’: Family slams police for killing UPS driver carjacked by armed robbers
At least 19 officers from five different agencies fired over 200 rounds at the robbers in the intense gun battle on Thursday, after a failed jewelry store holdup led police on a chase spanning several counties in South Florida.
My friend sent me this 🤯 pic.twitter.com/E5SjLOSbyY
— Kevin Reinoso♛ (@kevinreinosoo) December 6, 2019
Family members of one of the shootout victims, Frank Ordonez – who was taken hostage when the two thieves commandeered his UPS delivery truck to escape arrest – have been among the most vocal critics of the heavy-handed police response, which saw officers using cars stuck in traffic as cover from gunfire.
“This was police negligence,” Ordonez’s stepfather Joe Merino told WPLG, adding, “I want to use a strong word and I hope you don’t mind, but it’s been on my mind all night.”
Murder. They murdered him. I hope you can understand that, and how I feel, because it could have been prevented.
A woman who identified herself as Ordonez’s sister weighed in on Twitter, asking people to “please retweet this so everyone can be aware how stupid these cops are.”
“Today I lost my brother, because of the f**king negligence and stupidity of the police. Instead of negotiating with a hostage situation they just shot everyone,” she wrote.
The victim’s brother, Roy Ordonez, set up a GoFundMe page that quickly blew past its $20,000 goal, raising nearly $77,000 in under 24 hours. He was also outraged about how the incident was handled.
“My brother … was killed by police officers” and “[gunned] down like a criminal,” Ordonez wrote on the page. “Police need to be held accountable.” Elsewhere online, he reportedly claimed “the police killed my brother and they are trying to cover it up.”
Thousands of netizens lined up on social media to express similar sentiments, many arguing the officers went overboard in their aggressive response.
Everybody died. Great work officers 😬 https://t.co/uNaCuRrDaH
— Brittany (@TheWalkingBritt) December 6, 2019
The families have a major lawsuit. How irresponsible to shoot with 100s of people around. Could have been handled differently.
— Trinity Luxxx (@TrinityLuxxx) December 6, 2019
A police union representative defended the law enforcement tactics used on Thursday, however, insisting the officers acted appropriately in a difficult situation.
“If you shoot at us, we are going to engage. We are going to stop the threat,” Steadman Stahl, president of the South Florida Police Benevolent Association, said on Friday. “When bad guys are shooting at you, how do you negotiate?”
Both the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) are now investigating the incident to determine whether Ordonez and another bystander killed on the scene – 70-year-old Richard Cutshaw – were shot by police or the robbers.