Richard Cutshaw was named as the innocent bystander who was shot to death in his car during a wild police pursuit and shootout with a hijacked UPS truck that carried a hostage inside.
Cutshaw, 70, of Pembroke Pines, worked for a local union and was remembered as a good man, according to NBC Miami.
Graphic photos from the scene showed that Cutshaw was caught in the massive and chaotic crossfire. The fact so many police officers (possibly as many as 19) unloaded during rush-hour traffic at a vehicle containing a kidnapped driver and with so other motorists nearby is outraging the UPS driver’s family and people all over the country. The FBI, which is handling the investigation, has declined to say whether police killed either the bystander or the UPS driver.
Frank Ordonez was named by his brother as the UPS driver who was killed during the chase in Florida that unfolded after jewelry thieves seeking diamonds hijacked his truck and took Ordonez hostage. Ordonez was a young father remembered for his work ethic; his furious brother claims that police shot Ordonez.
People are equally upset about Cutshaw’s death. “Not only did they shoot and kill the UPS driver that was hostage, they shot and killed a bystander. The cops used cars in traffic with passengers inside as shields. This went from a rescue to just outright murder,” wrote one angry person on Twitter.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Cutshaw Was Returning Home From Work at a Local Union
According to NBC Miami, Cutshaw worked as the field representative for GSAF / OPEIU Local 100, “a union that represents over 6,000 employees across South Florida.”
The television station quoted a co-worker as saying Cutshaw “kept a positive attitude and had a willingness to work with the other side.”
Nineteen officers from five agencies fired into the UPS truck, and the number of rounds expended could exceed 200, according to CBS Miami, which added that Ordonez was “on his knees.”
Four people lay dead by the time the dust cleared; Ordonez, the bystander, and the two robbers. “They killed the hostage and an innocent bystander this story is maddening,” wrote one person on Twitter. “The police were firing wildly in rush hour traffic and not only killed the hostage, but a bystander… over jewelry. Every officer involved should at least be fired for their inability to judge how to correctly handle the situation, if not jailed for criminal negligent homocide (sic),” wrote another.
2. Cutshaw Was Remembered as ‘Friendly’ & Like a Brother to His Neighbor
Cutshaw’s neighbor, Guillermo Batista, called him “very friendly” to the Sun-Sentinel. “Sometimes he was more like a brother than a friend,” the neighbor said. “I thank God for the time he was here and the time he was alive.”
The newspaper said that Cutshaw was single.
The FBI says it’s not yet clear whose bullet ended the UPS driver’s and bystander’s life. They did not rule out a police bullet, however; the FBI’s special agent in charge of the Miami office said in a news conference that it was too early to know. (The next morning, an unrelated active shooter incident broke out at NAS Pensacola, where three people died with more wounded.)
Frank’s brother Roy has set up a GoFundMe page to help Ordonez’s family.
“My brother frank ordonez was killed by police officers on 12/5/2019, when two robbers hijacked the USP truck he was driving,” Roy Ordonez wrote on the GoFundMe page. “They kidnapped my brother and took him on a high speed chase, when they came to a stop he was gun down like a criminal by the Florida police. he didn’t deserve to die the way he did, he was just going to work to provide for his two little girls, which he loved so much. which are now left without a father…”
According to the Miami Herald, the police union says at least “11 officers from the department opened fire” during the UPS truck pursuit, but the robbers “started firing first.”
“It’s unfortunate that the bystanders were killed, but the bad guys put all this in motion,” said Steadman Stahl, president of the Miami-Dade Police Benevolent Association, to the newspaper.
Roy Ordonez wrote in the post, “Oh frank…you know Ill always love you. More then (sic) anything in this world my best friend my brother. I know these last years were really tough on you, thank you for always being there for me. You always wanted the best for me and you know I’d do anything for you. I feel like I’m dreaming, frank I need you so much bro. born on July 27 1992 and a year after on the same day I was born. Died at the age of 27…you always told me the number 7 followed you everywhere. Now I truly believe you, rest in heaven I love you. I won’t stop until their (sic) is justice for your life, the police killed my brother and they must be held accountable.”
He also wrote, “the police killed my brother and they are trying to cover it up.”
In the interest of establishing accountability regarding who shot Frank Ordonez, you can watch the video here if you deem it necessary, but it’s very troubling. According to ABC 7, the fourth victim “was in a nearby vehicle when shots rang out at a crowded intersection.”
3. The Robbery Started at a Coral Gables Jewelry Store & Cutshaw Was Killed as He Waited in His Car at an Intersection
According to CBS, Cutshaw died while he sat in his car as it idled at an intersection only a few miles from his home.
Live video of the pursuit and citizen cell phone videos captured the massive number of rounds fired. “In one bystander video…the sedan appeared to have just turned right at the intersection, about 350 feet away from the UPS truck,” Miami Herald reported.
George Piro, special agent in charge of the Miami field office for the FBI, said in a December 5, 2019 press conference that the crime spree began at the Regent Jewelry Store in Coral Gables, Florida around 4:15 p.m.
“Two armed individuals” robbed the jewelry store. “As the individuals were fleeing, shots were fired, and it (the robbery) was reported across the street at the City Hall in Coral Gables,” Piro said.
“As the suspects fled the area, they hijacked a UPS truck and kidnapped the driver,” said Piro, adding that authorities located the truck, “which resulted in a high speed pursuit.” The chase wound through Dade and Broward Counties, ending in Miramar. A woman wrote on Facebook that she was there. “didn’t kno what was going on all I seen was the police jumping out of cars with guns the police ran to my car told me to get out of here n all u hear was (g)un shots n seem gun smoke I was on the phone wit my grandma n all u hear her yelling what’s going on get away from there I was soooooo scared,” she wrote.
Josh Zivalich, President of Teamsters Local 769, wrote: “It is with a heavy heart that I write this statement this evening. We are heartbroken by the tragic events from earlier today regarding one of our Teamsters Local 769 members (UPS Driver), who was carjacked while doing his job.”
He added: “He was ultimately victimized in a shootout after a lengthy police pursuit with the carjackers. The cowardly actions of the criminals involved that chose to kidnap this hard working young man to give themselves some type of ‘cover’ or ‘shield’ are precisely the opposite of what Teamster men and women are and stand for. We pray for the family of this young man, and as further information is available we will of course provide those details for Teamster members to show and provide support to his family.”
4. Cutshaw Was Close to Retirement & Ordonez, the UPS Driver Slain, Was a Young Father
Cutshaw was near retirement.
“Rick, as he was known to people close to him, was just 2 years from retiring from his job as a union rep. He worked in Miramar and lived in Pembroke Pines. His family and loved ones are, understandably, devastated,” wrote reporter Ian Margol on Twitter.
Ordonez filled his Facebook page with pictures of his young child. “I wanna wish my baby a happy birthday today she’s turning 1 and grown so fast yet it feels like you were born just yesterday thank you for been so loving and caring hailey I love you,” he wrote with one post from 2015.
“My love for you will pass forever,” he wrote on Facebook with another picture. “Kid: The perfect date ?,” he wrote another time. And: “Disney on ice just because I love you…She’s getting so big.”
He called her “My lil best friend” and wrote “My daughters perfect.” Ordonez also leaves behind a second child, also a young girl.
According to Roy Ordonez, “Frank leaves behind two daughters with the ages of 3 and 6. this go fund me account is raise money for a Lawyer, to cover funeral cost and to help his little daughters school cost. his oldest daughter Hailey sees a speech therapist which UPS payed a potion of. PLEASE SHARE AND MAKE PEOPLE AWARE OF TRIGGER HAPPY POLICE OFFICERS. they could have killed many more people, could have been one of your loved ones. please don’t let my brothers death be for nothing. police need to be held accountable.”
5. The FBI Says It’s a Complex Crime Scene & Will Take Time to Get All Answers
According to Piro, it was “very early in the investigative process; a lot of questions are still unanswered. We will be working through the night.” He said authorities still needed to process the crime scene.
“Condolences go to the families of the deceased of today’s unfortunate incident,” he said.
He added that it was “going to be a very complicated crime scene.” There were multiple crime scenes, including the jewelry store. He added: “The suspects did fire on law enforcement as they were evading law enforcement.”
The robbery occurred at 4:14 p.m. and the hijacking was at 4:36 p.m., according to Piro.
A series of wild citizen cell phone videos flooded Twitter. Some captured the sound of gunfire and innocent bystanders ducking for cover. “I prayed the entire time watching the chase on tv that the UPS driver didn’t get shot … ?” wrote one woman who watched it all unfold live.
Piro said that the suspects engaged law enforcement and “opened fire…there was exchanged fire between law enforcement and the suspects.”
Two innocent bystanders lost their lives, he confirmed, although he didn’t name them. “Unfortunately the suspects are now deceased but two additional innocent civilians were also deceased,” said Piro, who added that the “FBI is leading the investigative effort.”
“You don’t unload with so many civilians around and a hostage. They had zero regard for that UPS drivers life, zero regard for all the life’s of people in traffic. If that UPS driver was your family member, you wouldn’t think it was ok,” one person wrote on Twitter.