For the family of a UPS driver shot to death during a standoff between two robbers and about 10 times as many police officers, justice has been delayed too long.
Frank Ordonez, 27, was kidnapped by two men after a failed robbery attempt at a jewelry store in Coral Gables on Dec. 5, 2019. The men led police on a 30-mile chase that ended at a Miramar intersection, where a shootout ensued during rush hour. Police officers from various South Florida agencies reportedly fired about 200 bullets. Those who died were not only the two robber-kidnappers, but Ordonez and another man, Richard Cutshaw, 70, who just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Members of Ordonez’s family gathered Tuesday night at the intersection of Miramar Parkway and Flamingo Road to repeat a tragic ritual of remembrance combined with a call for justice that, in their eyes, no one wants to answer.
“There’s no closure because there’s no justice,” said Joe Merino, Ordonez’s stepfather. “Those 21 cops went home that night. Frank never made it home to his two girls.”
The shooting was the subject of an intense investigation by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, which turned its findings over to the Broward State Attorney’s Office last year. Since then, the families of Ordonez and Cutshaw have been waiting to hear whether anyone will be held accountable for the shooting.
The knowledge that the kidnappers, Lamar Alexander and Jerome Hill, were also killed is of no consolation to Ordonez’s family.
“I don’t care about the robbers,” Merino said. “Where’s the justice for Frank?”
It has now been four years since the shooting. Broward State Attorney Harold Pryor issued a statement Tuesday acknowledging the grim anniversary and promising a thorough, honest review of the facts.
“Our office is committed to a thorough investigation of the matter with justice and integrity at the forefront,” Pryor said. “Although we are unable to discuss the details of the ongoing investigation, please know that our hearts and minds are on the victims, their families, and all of those who have been affected by this horrible event.”
In 2020, a witness stepped forward to pin the blame on the cops for firing the first shots in the shootout, according to lawyers representing the Ordonez family at the time. A lawsuit filed by Ordonez’s family in 2020 was dismissed in 2022, leaving family members convinced they will never get the “justice” they are seeking.
“It wasn’t handled properly,” Merino argued Tuesday. “The police could have been a little more patient. They went rogue. And Frank died for it.”
Rafael Olmeda can be reached at email@example.com or 954-356-4457.