MIRAMAR, Fla. – EPISODE 3 OUT NOW!
On Thursday, Dec. 5, 2019, 27-year-old Frank Ordonez was delivering packages from his UPS truck on a route in Coral Gables. The time stamp on a ring camera says it’s 4:54 p.m. Thirty minutes before that ring-cam snapshot, two armed men disguised as postal workers ring the bell of a jewelry store and get buzzed in.
This is the story of the UPS driver who became a hostage and ended up dead in the midst of a police shootout.
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It’s also about the 70-year-old union rep who was in his 2009 Mercury Grand Marquis stopped at a light on his way home from work. He was caught in the crossfire and shot in the head. It’s about 20 officers, approximately 200 bullets and people in their cars when the police start shooting.
It’s a story with many twists and turns, but most especially it’s about so many people in the wrong place at the wrong time and a shootout of monumental proportions that would take away innocent victims and change the lives of those who remained forever.
(FLORIDA FILES VIDEO ARCHIVE: Hear the 911 calls and see the scene from Miramar Parkway, Dec. 5, 2019)
Tom Cutshaw, Rick Cutshaw’s brother was watching television with his wife, Helen, in Mount Dora, Fla., and watching the chase on TV not knowing it was his brother who was one of the innocent victims.
He tells his story in Episode 1.
Joe Merino, Frank Ordonez’s stepfather says, “The police murdered Frank,” in Episode 1 of Season 7 of The Florida Files.
(UPDATE: On Nov. 4, the Broward State Attorney’s Office called the Cutshaw family. A call to the family of Frank Ordonez wasn’t received because, according to Joe Merino, the phone number they called was not one they recognized. The Florida Files passed along the correct phone numbers after the Ordonez family gave permission to do so. Joe Merino received a call from the Broward State Attorney’s Office on Nov, 21, 2022.)
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In Episode 2 of “Police Shootout Gone Wrong,” we talk to Richard Diaz, an attorney and former police officer. We show him the complete video from the start of the chase until the end, getting his take on what the police did, plus Melba Pearson, a civil rights and criminal law attorney who works in the Jack D. Gordon Institute for Public Police at Florida International University, explains why the family of Frank Ordonez didn’t get any settlement in their civil case because of “sovereign immunity.”
In Episode 3 of “Police Shootout Gone Wrong,” it’s the kidnappers, who were they? Lamar Alexander and Ronnie Jerome Hill, both 41, were ex-cons who were trying to get their life on track, their aunt tells Michelle Solomon, host and producer of The Florida Files.
But almost exactly 11 years to the date before the Miramar Parkway shootout, a similar story played out 200 miles from Miami. Lamar Alexander would be the driver leading 40 police officers on a 57-mile chase after he and three other men robbed a jewelry store.
And, in a terrible twist of fate, the man who was like a brother to Alexander is shot and killed not even a year after the UPS driver shootout. The killer? Alexander’s 15-year-old son, Charles.
Don’t miss Local 10′s original true crime series, The Florida Files: Police Shootout Gone Wrong.”