Miramar, Florida — The overwhelming use of force is being questioned after a chase in Florida ended in a deadly shootout with police. It started when two men, who the FBI said were already wanted for two similar heists near Miami, robbed a jewelry store and hijacked a UPS van.
After a 23-mile chase, the officers opened fire when the gunmen shot at them, leaving drivers in rush-hour traffic panicked and scrambling.
The two men who police said robbed the jewelry store were killed. But so was 70-year-old Richard Cutshaw, who was waiting in his car at the intersection. The UPS driver who was taken hostage, Frank Ordonez, was also killed.
Ordonez was father of two daughters, ages 3 and 5. Now his stepfather is criticizing the officers’ actions.
“They disregard the hostage, they disregard for the people around the scene. They went out there like the old West,” said Joe Merino.
Miami-Dade’s police director, Juan Perez, explained why officers had to move in on the suspects, saying the suspects weren’t just fleeing, they were being violent and “confronting officers shooting at them.”
But Manny Orosa, who was Miami-Dade’s police chief from 2011 to 2015, questions the tactic given the number of civilians and the hostage.
“If you’re shooting into a truck and you don’t have a clear vision of who you’re shooting at, you don’t just shoot at the truck,” Orosa said.
It’s not clear yet who fired the shots that killed the UPS driver and the innocent bystander. A complete investigation could take months, even years. The Miami-Dade officers who opened fire have been placed on administrative leave, which is standard during these types of investigations.