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'I Refused To Believe It Was Him': Stepfather Of UPS Driver Frank Ordonez, Taken Hostage, Killed In Shootout

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The stepfather of kidnapped UPS employee Frank Ordonez calls the death of his stepson an "injustice", one day after armed robbers stole his truck, led police on a chase, and was killed in a police shootout in Miramar.

Ordonez, a 27-year-old father of two young girls, was "a noble kid," his stepfather Joe Merino told CBS4's Peter D'Oench.

"He was still a kid to us. He was a home body. He was a family man. He had a 3 and 5 year old daughter he's leaving behind. He always had a smile, never lost his temper. He did everything for his daughters," he said.

When the hijacking unfolded, Ordonez was covering the route for a driver who had called out.

Frank Ordonez
Frank Ordonez, the UPS driver killed in the shootout between police and the armed robbers who took him hostage. (Source: Facebook)

It was only his second day on the Coral Gables route. His normal route was Coconut Grove, according to Merino, the family spokesperson.

"He worked the preload at UPS, which is the graveyard shift, where you load the trucks before they go out in the morning. After five years, he waited and waited and he became a driver and he was going to have a solid consistent route this January."

Merino said he and his wife found out through their other son, who was watching the news, and told them he thought it was Frank.

Merino didn't think it was him. "I refused to believe it was him," he said.

At the hospital, Merino said they couldn't get any answers until the FBI arrived. They told him, "Frank was pronounced dead on the scene. He never made it to the hospital."

Four people were killed during Thursday's incident, including Ordonez, the two robbery suspects and bystander Richard Cutshaw at the end of the chase, FBI Special Agent in Charge George Piro said.

Window Shot Out Coral Gables City Hall
Bullet pierces window at Coral Gables City Hall (CBS4)

The chase began after two suspects tried to rob a Regent Jewelers shop in Coral Gables, city Police Chief Edward Hudak Jr. said. One woman was injured in the robbery.

She was identified by police as 67-year-old Liliana Sardi of Key Biscayne.

One of the bullets traveled across Lejeune Road into City Hall. A bullet hit a window at the city clerk's office.

The suspects stole the UPS truck Ordonez was driving, took him hostage and sped away, Coral Gables police said. Dozens of police officers and vehicles pursued the truck as it sped through traffic from Coral Gables into Miramar.

The chase came to a tragic end when the UPS truck met stopped traffic at an intersection at Miramar Parkway just west of Flamingo Road.

Police exited their vehicles and approached the truck with their weapons drawn, using bystanders' vehicles as cover.

The driver of the truck left the steering wheel. Seconds later, a barrage of gunshots rang out.  A total of 19 officers, from five different agencies, fired into the carjacked UPS truck, a senior law enforcement source told CBS4 News.

Coral Gables Police Pursuit Chase Shootout
A gun is recovered in Miramar followed the shootout that led to four deaths. (CBS4)

It's unclear whether the first shots came from inside the truck or from police. Whether Ordonez or the slain bystander was hit by police fire is part of the investigation, the FBI's Piro said.

According to Merino, 30 to 40 bullets hit the UPS truck. He says he wants answers.

"Where was SWAT, where was the sniper, where was the hostage negotiator?" he asked. "They disregard the hostage, they disregard the people around the scene, they went out there like the old west, they shot everybody," he said about the way police handled the situation.

Standing in the front yard surrounding by Christmas decorations just put on display by Ordonez last weekend, the distraught stepfather said, "There's no more Christmas here. There's no more Christmas. Christmas is over for us. This is devastating."

There is a gofundme page set up for anyone who wants to help pay for funeral expenses.


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