Florida police officers charged in 2019 shooting that killed UPS driver and bystander

Four Florida police officers have been charged with manslaughter for the deaths of a UPS driver and a bystander during a 2019 shootout with suspects who carjacked the UPS driver.

A grand jury indicted Miami-Dade County officer Rodolfo Mirabal, 39, on two counts of involuntary firearms manslaughter in connection with the Dec. 5, 2019, death of UPS driver Frank Ordonez, 27, and Richard Cutshaw, 70, who was driving. nearby, Broward County prosecutors said Saturday.

Officers Jose Mateo, 32, Richard Santiesteban, 33, and Leslie Lee, 57, were charged with firearms manslaughter for Ordonez's death, but they do not face charges in Cutshaw's death.

Mirabal and Mateo still work for the Miami-Dade police, while Lee retired three years ago and Santiesteban was fired, according to the Miami Herald.

SOUTH FLORIDA COPS IN SHOOTING THAT KILLED UPS DRIVER, 3 OTHERS PLACED ON ADMINISTRATIVE LEAVE: REPORTS

Bullet holes seen around UPS logo on van at scene of shooting

Four Florida police officers have been charged with manslaughter in the deaths of a UPS driver and a bystander killed during a shootout with hijackers in 2019. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

None of the officers have been charged in the deaths of the hijackers – and cousins ​​– Lamar Alexander, 41, and Ronnie Jerome Hill, 41.

Officers went to the Broward Sheriff's Office Friday and Saturday after the indictments were released more than a week ago. They were released without bail.

If convicted, the officers face a maximum sentence of 30 years.

Broward State Attorney Harold Pryor said the years-long state investigation and months-long grand jury proceedings were necessary “to ensure that we get answers for the families of the victims and the community.

“Deciding whether or not to use deadly force is one of the most serious and consequential decisions a police officer can make,” Pryor said in a statement. “We understand that these decisions are often made under intense and uncertain circumstances.”

Miami-Dade police previously said in a statement that they “respect the legal process.”

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The officers have not been charged in the deaths of the two hijackers. (Taimy Alvarez/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP)

The union that represents police officers criticized the indictment last week.

“We are extremely disappointed that after almost five years, these officers find themselves charged for something they had only seconds to decide,” Steadman Stahl, president of the South Florida Police Benevolent Association, said in a statement. . “It has a deterrent effect on officers in Broward County.”

The shooting occurred during rush hour on a street in suburban Fort Lauderdale, Florida, following a pursuit by multiple police agencies.

About 20 law enforcement officers were at the scene, although it is unclear how many of them fired their weapons at the hijackers, who were shooting at the officers during the chase.

Alexander and Hill allegedly burglarized the Regent Jewelers store in the Miami suburb of Coral Gables and were firing shots inside the store when officers arrived. A store employee was injured during the incident after being hit in the head by a ricocheted bullet.

The thieves fled the store and carjacked Ordonez while he was delivering packages nearby. The two men then led officers on a lengthy chase through southern Broward County, shooting at them during the chase while Ordonez was still inside the van.

KIDNED UPS DRIVER, BYSTANDER, JEWELRY THEFT SUSPECTS DEAD AFTER FLORIDA HIGHWAY RUSH-HOUR SHOOT

UPS delivery truck hijacked after Florida theft

The two hijackers, the UPS driver and a bystander were all killed in the December 2019 shooting. (Charles Trainor Jr./Miami Herald/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)

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The suspects eventually stopped in a middle lane at a busy intersection when they found themselves stuck behind a wall of vehicles at a red light.

The shooting began as the officers ran between cars on their way to the van. Alexander, Hill and Ordonez were killed inside the van while Cutshaw was found dead in his car.

Investigators have not revealed whether Ordonez and Cutshaw were shot by police, the suspects or both.

It is unusual for Florida law enforcement officers to be charged with an on-duty killing, with only three such cases in the past 40 years. Among them, only one police officer was convicted.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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