MIRAMAR, FLA. (WSVN) - The UPS truck driver killed in a hostage situation and shootout in Miramar has been identified by his family.
Frank Ordonez, 27, was identified as the person fatally struck in the shooting that left three others dead following the cross-county pursuit of two alleged armed robbery suspects.
Roy Ordonez said he and his brother were inseparable and born on the same day on the same month but one year apart.
“I don’t think, like him — there’s ever gonna be another person like him,” he said. “He was my best friend. They used to talk to him all the time. At the end of the day, he was just going out, you know, driving to provide for his family.”
It started in Coral Gables when, police said, two gunmen robbed Regent Jewelers in the area of Le Jeune Road at around 4 p.m., Thursday.
Coral Gables Police Chief Edward Hudak said the subjects fled north in a U-Haul truck to the area of 1261 Mariana Ave. where they abandoned the vehicle and carjacked a UPS delivery truck and abducted its driver. The driver was making a delivery at the time of the carjacking, police said. Roy noted that the route his brother was on that day was different than his usual route.
Officers later spotted the truck driving along the northbound lanes of Florida’s Turnpike and a chase ensued.
The chase took dozens of officers through Pembroke Pines before ending on Miramar Parkway just east of Flamingo Road.
7SkyForce HD flew above the scene where the alleged subjects could be seen exchanging gunfire with officers.
Bullet holes and a shattered windshield could be seen in the truck.
Later in the evening, FBI Special Agent George Piro confirmed four people were killed in the shootout, including the UPS driver and a bystander.
Detectives worked into Friday morning gathering evidence.
The UPS truck was removed from the scene before 12 p.m.
“Our condolences go to the families of the deceased of today’s unfortunate incident,” Piro said.
7News spoke with Joe Merino, Ordonez’s stepfather, who said their family is grieving but are also upset with how police handled the situation.
“It’s a nightmare. It’s a bad dream that I hope to wake up from and see him here,” said Merino. “He’s not here. He lived with us. My wife is destroyed. It’s broken our hearts. I have a broken heart right now. I’m not an attorney, and I’m not a police officer, but I’m a rational person and reason tells me, ‘Why didn’t they secure the area.’ Another innocent victim was killed. Where was the SWAT team that normally handles all the hostage situations. Where was the sniper? Where was the hostage negotiator? They came in full force.”
Ordonez’s brothers also expressed feeling devastated by their loss.
“[He was] positive in every situation. He never gave up, and he always inspired me to never give up and try to do the best with my life,” Roy said. “I really want justice for what happened to my brother. I want the officers who killed my brother to be held accountable. He was a very, very happy person. He loved everybody, and everybody loved him.”
“He was that type of person that was always looking for the good,” Luis Ordonez added. “I know for a fact that probably he talked to [the suspects] and told them, ‘You guys can stop this and get out,’ but the way that police handled the situation, it was a nightmare. It’s very sad the way he had to go. It was not the way he was supposed to leave, you know.”
The brothers said Frank was the third oldest of six siblings.
Genevieve Merino told an Inside Edition reporter that her big brother’s death came as a complete shock.
“I would have never thought this would have happened,” she said while holding back tears. “He was my best friend. My heart — it’s broken, and I won’t see my brother anymore, my big brother. He would’ve done anything for me because I was his little sister and for all of us. Frank Ordonez was an amazing person. He had an amazing heart. He didn’t deserve what happened to him at all.”
Despite their grief, Ordonez’s family members are demanding answers.
“You don’t have to take my word for it. The video says it all,” Merino said. “Frank doesn’t have a voice. What is upsetting about the whole thing is that officers that shot and killed — I’ll rephrase that — officers that murdered my son went home to their wives and kids. Frank never came back home that night. I don’t think we’re going to get over this.”
Miami-Dade Police Director Juan Perez responded on Friday to the family’s pleas for answers.
“I respect the way he feels right now about law enforcement, and I’m hopeful that, in time, we will be able to change his perceptions,” Perez said. “I’m hopeful we change it in a way that he knows that we’re empathetic, and this was not the intent of law enforcement — that two perpetrators did this to his brother.”
UPS released a statement upon learning of the death of one of their employees:
“We are deeply saddened to learn a UPS service provider was a victim of this senseless act of violence. We extend our condolences to the family and friends of our employee and the other innocent victims involved in this incident. We appreciate law enforcement’s service and will cooperate with the authorities as they continue the investigation.”
Ordonez was an employee with the company since 2016, when he joined as a package handler. He was then moved to be a driver.
UPS released an updated statement on Friday that read:
“Last night in the Miami area, we tragically lost a valuable member of the UPS team, our driver Frank Ordonez, who joined UPS in 2016. This senseless act of violence has impacted many on a personal level. Our deepest sympathies go to Frank’s family, friends and other innocent victims of this heartbreaking incident.
“We are providing assistance to the Ordonez family and counseling for Frank’s co-workers and employees in the Miami area. Please continue to keep them in your thoughts and prayers in the days ahead.”
Ordonez leaves behind two young daughters — a 3-year-old and a 5-year-old.
The family has set up a GoFundMe page for Ordonez. To donate, click here.
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