After 3 years, families still don’t know who killed loved ones during UPS hijack shootout

Three years after a Coral Gables jewelry heist led to the hijacking of a UPS truck, a high-speed interstate chase and a chaotic shootout with police at a packed Broward County intersection that left two robbers and two innocent men dead, a central question has yet to be answered: Who fired the bullets that killed Frank Ordonez, a kidnapped UPS driver, and Rick Cutshaw, a driver in a nearby car?

The lead investigative agency, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, continues to refuse to disclose details of its findings of a gun battle that played out like a movie on South Florida television screens. The agency has only said that it completed its investigation in the summer of 2021 and passed the information on to the Broward State Attorney’s Office.

This week, the Broward prosecutor said information requested by the Miami Herald and other media outlets — from incident reports to 911 calls to close-out memos to depositions of dozens of witnesses — are exempt from public record until the investigation is officially complete.

“The prosecutor has been in contact with the families of the deceased victims,” said Paula McMahon, spokeswoman for the Broward state attorney. She referred most questions about the shootout to a September 2021 response from the office when prosecutors said they were reviewing statements and evidence and “anticipate this review will take some time.”

And despite reports that a grand jury would be convened if prosecutors found probable cause for an indictment, its unclear if that had happened or remains the plan.

The black hole of information doesn’t sit well with still struggling family members of Ordonez or Cutshaw, who were killed that day for simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Ordonez, 27, was making a routine delivery in his UPS truck in Coral Gables when he was kidnapped at gunpoint. Cutshaw, 70, was simply stuck in traffic at a busy intersection during the height of rush hour.

Frank Ordonez, driver of the UPS truck that was hijacked Thursday, was killed in the chase and shootout that followed.
Frank Ordonez, driver of the UPS truck that was hijacked Thursday, was killed in the chase and shootout that followed.

Three years after the shootout, family members say that law enforcement still hasn’t explained why police opened fire at the intersection — or even who shot first. They still don’t know who fired the shots that ended the lives of their loved ones. And they haven’t been told how many bullets pierced the bodies of Ordonez and Cutshaw.

“I guess it’s whatever the stages of grief are right now, because it’s way past frustration,” Cutshaw’s brother Tom Cutshaw said from his Mount Dora home. “I know they had the answers to the questions, even a couple of years ago.”


The events that led to the death of the two men began during a relatively clear and cool afternoon on Dec. 6, 2019, when a pair of 41-year-old ex-cons named Lamar Alexander and Ronnie Jerome Hill walked into Regents Jewelers at 386 Miracle Mile in Coral Gables, dressed as couriers. One wore a flesh-colored mask and a U.S. Postal Service hat. They both had high-powered weapons. They opened fire almost immediately, a bullet ricocheting off the floor and striking an employee in the head. She survived.

But bullets flew both ways after the owner retrieved a weapon. The battle continued outside the store as the two men jumped into a truck they parked in an alley. During the gunfight a bullet from one of the weapons crossed LeJeune Road and went through a window in the clerk’s office at Coral Gables City Hall. Fortunately, no one there was injured.

With tens of thousands of dollars in cash and jewelry in their possession, the men drove to Southwest Eighth Street in Coral Gables and ditched the truck. That’s where they spotted Ordonez, a father of two young girls, making a routine delivery in his UPS truck. They commandeered the vehicle at gunpoint. With Gables police following, helicopters and other law enforcement joined the chase along Interstate 75. Firing at police along the highway, the truck made its way to Broward County, eventually getting stuck in traffic at the busy intersection of Miramar Parkway and Flamingo roads.

Then all hell broke loose.

With dozens of cars locked in a maze of traffic, a raging gun battle between 19 police officers from at least three agencies and the two carjackers erupted. Police crept forward through the crowded thoroughfare, with officers shielding themselves from the gunfire behind cars stuck in traffic. Bewildered and endangered drivers were mostly clueless to what was going on.

When it ended, Hill and Alexander, who had exchanged more than 200 rounds with police, were dead. But so was Ordonez, who at one point spilled out of the UPS truck onto the street. Also killed was a “quiet and unassuming” 70-year-old local union worker named Rick Cutshaw, who was sitting in his car and on his way home when the shooting began.

Rick Cutshaw, 70, was killed in the shootout between cops and robbers in Miramar traffic Thursday. He was a union representative from Pembroke Pines.
Rick Cutshaw, 70, was killed in the shootout between cops and robbers in Miramar traffic Thursday. He was a union representative from Pembroke Pines.

“He was just a happy-go-lucky person,” said union representative and former Coral Gables Mayor Don Slesnick. “I hate to think of this, but at the very moment the bullets struck, Rick was probably smiling and listening to the radio. That was Rick.”


From the start, answers were hard to come by. As the months passed, frustrated family members filed a wrongful death lawsuit in civil court. They argued that six law enforcement agencies — Miami-Dade, the Florida Highway Patrol, the Broward Sheriff’s Office, Miramar, Pembroke Pines and Doral — were negligent in their actions and responsible for the deaths of their loved ones. Attorneys produced a witness who claimed police fired the first shot.

But earlier this year the lawsuit was tossed by Broward Circuit Court Judge Keathan B. Frink. The judge determined that police could not be held liable for their actions because they were shielded by sovereign immunity, a tenet dating back to English common law that largely prevents governments from being sued without its consent. At one point he referred to the situation as a “Hobson’s Choice scenario,” leaving police in the precarious position of having no good choice at all.

“As a result, defendants are entitled to sovereign immunity because they were forced to make an executive decision which has been described as a discretionary act,” Frink wrote.

When Ordonez family attorney Michael Haggard filed the lawsuit in late 2020, he called the police actions, “pure recklessness.”

“There was no tactical strategy,” Haggard said at the time. “They tried to box in two kidnappers and used civilians as human shields. They went in guns blazing without any regard for human life.”


Last week, thinking back on the loss of his brother, Tom Cutshaw said he watched the events of that tragic day unfold on television but was unaware his brother had been killed until he was informed by a close friend of his brother the next day.

“They were using cars as shields as they expended clips. I watched the thing on tv and just shook my head. The morning after, Rick’s friend called and said it was Rick,” he said.

Tom Cutshaw said his family was hesitant to speak about his brother’s death for the first year because they feared the family’s 100-year-old matriarch would suffer. So for almost a year, family members didn’t tell Evelyn Cutshaw that her son had been killed.

When they finally did, her health went downhill almost immediately, Tom Cutshaw said. Evelyn Cutshaw died in December 2020.

“To be honest,” said Tom Cutshaw, “I don’t know what I’d want for resolution. The whole thing was just tragic.”