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Four Miami-Dade police officers indicted for 2019 deadly shootout

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Four police officers from Miami-Dade County have been indicted in connection with a 2019 shootout that resulted in the deaths of a UPS driver, two robbers, and a nearby driver.

This news was confirmed by their union, the South Florida Police Benevolent Association, on Tuesday.

The shootout, which took place on a busy street, has been a point of contention and has now led to the grand jury indictment of the officers. However, the union has criticized the Broward County State Attorney’s Office for pursuing these charges, highlighting the difficult and split-second decisions officers had to make during the incident. The specific charges and the identities of the officers have not been disclosed, but they are expected to surrender next week.

“We’re extremely disappointed that after almost five years, these officers are finding themselves indicted for something they had seconds to decide. It sends a chilling effect to officers in Broward County,” union president Steadman Stahl said in a statement. “As the process moves forward, we will monitor it and defend our officers.”

“Grand jury proceedings are secret under Florida law, and any proceedings or actions taken by a grand jury are not public until a judge makes them so,” the statement said.

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A tragic sequence of events in Miami-Dade

The Miami Herald first reported the indictment, bringing attention to a tragic sequence of events that began with a robbery at Regent Jewelers in Coral Gables by cousins Lamar Alexander and Ronnie Jerome Hill. During the robbery, shots were fired, injuring a store worker. The robbers then hijacked a UPS truck driven by 27-year-old Frank Ordonez.

A high-speed chase ensued in Miami-Dade, spanning multiple jurisdictions and attracting live national coverage from news helicopters.

The chase ended in Miramar, where the UPS van was cornered in heavy traffic. Witnesses reported that gunfire erupted as officers closed in on the van. Ordonez, Alexander, Hill, and 70-year-old Richard Cutshaw, who was driving nearby, were all killed in the crossfire. The exact source of the fatal bullets that hit Ordonez and Cutshaw remains unclear.

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Policing experts have noted the challenging situation the officers faced, with the robbers reportedly firing from the van, thereby endangering everyone in the vicinity. The Miami-Dade officers needed to contain the robbers to prevent further hostilities and potential hostage situations.

The indictment is a rare event in Florida, where it is highly unusual for law enforcement officers to be charged for on-duty killings. In the past 40 years, only three officers have been charged, with just one conviction.

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