The estate of Frank Ordonez, the UPS driver killed in a Dec. 5 shootout after a Coral Gables-to-Miramar pursuit of armed robbers, hit six law enforcement agencies with a negligence lawsuit Monday in Broward County Circuit Court.
Named as defendants in the suit, which also includes shot civilian Carlo Lara as a plaintiff: the Miami Police Department, Florida Highway Patrol, Broward Sheriff’s Office, and the Miramar, Pembroke Pines and Doral police Departments.
The suit faults officers from these agencies with creating the situation for the tragic events by showing negligence in their pursuit of the UPS truck, “thereby leading to the eventual shootout in the close vicinity of occupied civilian vehicles.”
It also faults them in engaging in the shootout, which killed robbery suspects Lamar Alexander and Ronnie Hill, who had taken Ordonez hostage, and also Ordonez, 27, and Rick Cutshaw, 70.
Police say Alexander and Hill carjacked Ordonez’s United Parcel Service truck after robbing Regent Jewelers in Coral Gables. A chase that added police as it ran up Florida’s Turnpike, Okeechobee Road, Interstate 75 and the streets of Pembroke Pines — into and out of Century Village senior community at one point — ended at the intersection of Miramar Parkway and Flamingo Road.
Like Cutshaw, Lara happened to be in one of the cars trapped when the pursuit parade arrived during afternoon rush hour and the shooting started. Police say Alexander and Hill fired first.
“As result of the Defendant’s negligent implementation of its policies, innocent civilians, including Carlo Lara, were placed in the middle of a shootout, and used by the Defendants as a blockade and shield for incoming gunfire,” the lawsuit said.
The lawsuit filed by Michael Haggard and Adam Finkel of The Haggard Law Firm says Lara suffered “serious injuries.”
The suspension of grand juries during the COVID-19 pandemic has stalled the investigation into the shooting.