The UPS driver killed after being taken hostage by a pair of armed robbers was reportedly out on his first day of solo deliveries when he was fatally shot by police officers in South Florida.
Friends and family identified the victim to CBS Miami as Frank Ordonez. He had worked for UPS for five years but only just recently completed the training that allowed him to drive alone and without a partner, Ordonez’s brother, Roy, told the news station.
Another three people were killed in Thursday night’s chaos, including the two suspects who hijacked Ordonez’ UPS vehicle.
The incident began around 4:15 p.m., after a pair of armed robbers triggered the silent alarm at Regent Jewelers, located along the ritzy Miracle Mile shopping district of Coral Gables in Miami-Dade County. When authorities arrived on the scene, the suspects open fired and fled from the store before carjacking a UPS truck at gunpoint around 4:36 p.m.
A high-speed chase through multiple Florida counties ensued, ending about 20 miles away in Miramar when the UPS truck became stuck in rush hour traffic.
What appeared to be more than a dozen officers approached the vehicle and unleashed a torrent of bullets. FBI Special Agent in Charge George Piro said at a press conference that the suspects also returned gunfire.
TV news helicopters showed first responders tending to at least one person who fell from the truck just moments after the chase concluded.
Ordonez, both suspects and “an innocent bystander” — in their car at the time — were killed in the shootout. It’s still unclear who was struck by which gunfire.
During a press conference late Thursday, Piro was asked if there was a chance that either the driver or the bystander were struck by police bullets.
“It is very, very early on in the investigation and it would be completely inappropriate to discuss that,” he said. “We have just began to process the crime scene. As you can imagine, this is going to be a very complicated crime scene.”
UPS did not identify its slain driver but offered a statement in wake of the tragedy, vowing to cooperate with authorities.
“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,” the company said.
“We appreciate law enforcement’s service and will cooperate with authorities as they continue the investigation.”