4 Florida officers charged in 2019 shooting that killed UPS driver, bystander

MIRAMAR, Fla. — A Florida grand jury has indicted four current and former police officers in a 2019 shootout in Miramar that killed two innocent men, including a kidnapped UPS driver.

Rodolfo Mirabal, 39, was indicted on two counts of manslaughter with a firearm in the Dec. 5, 2019, deaths of Frank Ordonez, 27, the kidnapped UPS driver; and Richard Cutshaw, 70, a passing motorist. Broward County prosecutors said the other officers, Jose Mateo, 32, Richard Santiesteban, 33, and Leslie Lee, 57, were indicted on one count each of manslaughter with a firearm for the death of Ordonez.

The deadly shootout took place at the end of a 20-mile chase that began when cousins Lamar Alexander and Ronnie Jerome Hill, both 41, hijacked Ordonez’s UPS truck during a robbery in Coral Gables.

Alexander and Hill were also slain in the shooting, but the officers are not charged in their deaths.

The defendants, who surrendered themselves Friday and Saturday, were released on their own recognizance, Broward County State Prosecutor Harold Pryor said.

Pryor said the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the FBI conducted an extensive investigation into the officers and the circumstances of the shooting, which took place at a busy intersection during rush hour.

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

The time and location of the shooting was a factor when the case was presented to a grand jury, which issued the indictments earlier this month. Prosecutors announced the charges Saturday evening.

“Given the enormity of the gunfire in this incident at an extremely busy intersection packed with civilian motorists and pedestrians, we presented these agencies’ findings to the grand jury,” Pryor said. “Although the process has taken a long time, we feel the grand jury was necessary to ensure we get answers for the victims’ families and the community.”

The Associated Press reported in 2019 that the bloodshed started when Coral Gables police officers responded to a silent alarm at Regent Jewelers. When the officers arrived, Alexander and Hill were in the store and shots had been fired.

The alleged robbers fled in an unidentified vehicle but later hijacked Ordonez’s delivery truck, which they drove into Broward County, the AP reported.

The chase continued through red lights and several near crashes until the stolen truck reached the intersection of Miramar Parkway and Flamingo Road, where a wall of vehicles waiting at a red light forced the hijackers to a stop.

With news helicopters circling overhead, gunfire broke out between the officers and the suspects.

“This is what dangerous people do to get away,” Coral Gables police Chief Ed Hudak said at the time. “And this is what people will do to avoid capture.”

It was initially unclear whether the fatal gunshots came from the alleged robbers or the officers.

The Miami Herald reported that two of the officers, Mateo and Mirabal, are still employed by Miami-Dade police. They were part of the department’s Priority Response Team when the shooting occurred.

Lee, who worked on the Special Response Team, retired in late 2021, according to the Herald. Santiesteban was fired earlier this month before the indictment. He was a member of the Robbery Intervention Detail Unit.

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