MIRAMAR, FLA. (WSVN) - The family of the UPS driver who was fatally gunned down during a shootout in Miramar between police officers and the robbers who kidnapped him is speaking out after having filed a lawsuit against the Miami-Dade Police Department and five other law enforcement agencies involved in the case.
Frank Ordonez’s loved ones spoke with reporters during a news conference in Coral Gables, Thursday.
The mother of his two daughters, Jasmine Martinez, said she ever thought she would have to explain to her 6- and 4-year-old why their father will never come home, but that has been her reality for the past 10 months.
“The only thing that I can think of right now for myself or for my future are my children, ’cause they need me more than ever now,” she said.
According to investigators, the two suspects took Ordonez hostage after robbing a jewelry store in Coral Gables and took him on a high-speed chase across two counties, Dec. 5.
The UPS driver was killed after a shootout broke out between his captors and authorities at the intersection of Miramar Parkway and Flamingo Road in the middle of rush hour.
“It’s hard to talk about death with any child, because I don’t think they can comprehend it, but they definitely feel it because I feel it for them,” said Martinez.
Another innocent bystander, 70-year-old Rick Cutshaw, was also killed in the shootout.
Ordonez’s family said police failed to negotiate with the robbers in an effort to avoid their use of force in an area where there were civilians.
Michael Haggard, the family’s attorney, believes that if police followed their own handbook, Ordonez could still be alive.
At the news conference, the attorney said a witness claimed police shot first, and officers even left behind critical evidence.
“The police who had the scene locked up and secure failed to even retrieve these bullets,” he said as he held up a clear plastic bag with the bullets.
Speaking in Spanish, Ordonez’s mother, Luz Apolimario, said, “Only a mother who has lost a son knows that pain.”
Martinez said she hopes this lawsuit will prevent another family from going through a similar tragedy.
“There’s nothing that can replace their dad, nothing at all. They only knew him for such a little time, but they love him with all their hearts,” she said.
Among the other law enforcement agencies named in the lawsuit are the Broward Sheriff’s Office and the Florida Highway Patrol.
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