Florida officers indicted in 2019 shootout that killed UPS driver, passerby

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Four Florida police officers have been indicted for manslaughter in the deaths of a UPS driver and a passerby during a 2019 shootout with suspects who hijacked the UPS driver.

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

Officers Jose Mateo, 32, Richard Santiesteban, 33, and Leslie Lee, 57, were indicted for manslaughter with a firearm for Ordonez’s death, but they are not facing charges in Cutshaw’s death.

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

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

Four Florida police officers have been indicted for manslaughter in the deaths of a UPS driver and a passerby who were killed in a 2019 shootout with hijackers. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

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

The officers surrendered on Friday and Saturday to the Broward Sheriff’s Office after the indictments were issued 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 the months-long grand jury proceedings were necessary “to ensure we get answers for the victims’ families and the community.”

“Deciding whether to use deadly force is among the most serious and consequential decisions a police officer can make,” Pryor said in a statement. “We understand that these decisions are often made during intense and uncertain circumstances.”

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

ROBBERS KILLED IN FLORIDA UPS TRUCK HIJACKING, SHOOTOUT WITH POLICE ARE IDENTIFIED

Authorities investigate the scene of a shooting in Miramar, Florida

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

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

“We’re extremely disappointed that after almost five years, these officers are finding themselves indicted for something they had seconds to decide,” South Florida Police Benevolent Association president Steadman Stahl said in a statement. “It sends a chilling effect to officers in Broward County.”

The shootout took place during rush hour on a street in suburban Fort Lauderdale, Florida, following a pursuit by several police agencies.

About 20 law enforcement officers were at the scene, although it remains unclear how many fired their guns at the hijackers, who had been shooting at officers during the pursuit.

Alexander and Hill allegedly robbed 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 wounded during the incident after being struck in the head by a ricocheted bullet.

The robbers fled the store and hijacked Ordonez as he was delivering packages nearby. The pair then led officers on a lengthy chase into southern Broward County, firing at them during the pursuit while Ordonez was still inside the van.

KIDNAPPED UPS DRIVER, BYSTANDER, AND JEWELRY STORE HEIST SUSPECTS DEAD AFTER FLORIDA HIGHWAY RUSH-HOUR SHOOTOUT

A UPS delivery truck that was carjacked after a robbery in Florida

Both of the hijackers, the UPS driver and a passerby were all killed during the December 2019 shootout. (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 were trapped behind a wall of vehicles at a red light.

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

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

It is unusual for Florida law enforcement officers to be charged in an on-duty killing, with only three such cases in the past 40 years. Of those, only one officer has been convicted.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.