Family, friends, fellow drivers pay final respects for killed UPS driver

Frank Ordonez laid to rest Tuesday afternoon; family vows death will bring change

MIAMI LAKES, Fla. – The 27-year-old father of two killed in a horrific Miramar shootout while being held hostage last Thursday was laid to rest Tuesday afternoon.

Frank Ordonez’s casket was carried to its final resting place at Vista Memorial Gardens as family, friends and fellow drivers paid their final respects.

Ordonez’s mother, Luz Apolinario, spoke publicly for the first time since her son’s death as she left Vista Memorial Gardens.

“What I know is that I left my son here,” Ordonez’s mother said. “He’s not coming back with me and I have to leave alone.”

Ordonez’s family has expressed anger over how law enforcement from Broward and Miami-Dade counties handled the high-speed chase that ended the lives of Ordonez, and another innocent bystander, Richard Cutshaw, 70, of Pembroke Pines.

“This is murder,” Ordonez’s stepfather Joe Merino said. “Frank never had a chance.”

Before he was shot, Ordonez was filling in on a route for another driver when he was approached by two gunmen, Lamar Alexander and Ronnie Hill, after they abandoned a U-Haul truck that was an apparent getaway vehicle from a jewelry store heist in Coral Gables minutes earlier.

The heist left a store clerk at Regent Jewelry hospitalized and a bullet fired at a Coral Gables City Hall window.

A high speed ensued, leading authorities into Broward County via Interstate 75, exiting at Pines Boulevard. The truck eventually came to a stop just after 5 p.m. at Miramar Parkway just east of Flamingo Road, due in part by rush hour traffic congestion.

Once stopped, authorities stormed the vehicle. As the gunmen fired, law enforcement officials returned fire with officers and bystanders alike seeking cover as bullets flew in several directions, video showed.

"The armed suspects engaged law enforcement, opened fire," said special agent George Piro, with the FBI Miami Field Office. "There was an exchange of gunfire between law enforcement and the suspects.”

At least 13 officers fired police issued firearms towards the UPS truck, with the two gunmen shooting from inside the boxed in delivery truck.

In the end, there were four deaths. No authorities suffered any injuries.

The investigation continues, though no details have been shared as to who was ultimately responsible for firing the bullets that killed Ordonez and Cutshaw, even as autopsies were completed.

“We want justice,” Merino said.

To that end, the Ordonez family plans to hold a press conference in Coral Gables Wednesday afternoon where they are expected to announce an independent investigation into the events that led to Ordonez’s death that is separate from the current investigation being conducted by authorities.

Additionally, Ordonez’s family are looking into legal actions they can take to ensure better engagement procedure and training to prevent a similar tragedy in the future.

Ordonez’s mother and stepfather are expected to speak, along with family attorney Michael Haggard.

In addition to his mother and stepfather, Ordonez is survived by his wife and two young children, 5 and 3; as well as a sister and brother.

Two GoFundMe pages have been set up in memory of Ordonez, one by his brother and another by a fellow UPS driver.

About the Authors:

Andrew Perez is a South Florida native who joined the Local 10 News team in May 2014.