Patrick Blanchfield in Late-Lite:
In the busy holiday rush of December 2019, a 27-year-old UPS driver named Frank Ordóñez, who had the day off, volunteered to cover a shift for his friend. On his route delivering packages through the suburbs of Miramar, Florida, Ordóñez was carjacked and held at gunpoint by two men who had just robbed and shot up a nearby jewelry store. The police were hot on their heels, and a car chase ensued. Audiences watched on TV, the footage broadcast live by news helicopters, as the big brown van turned onto Interstate 75, Ordóñez still inside.
The chase proceeded for twenty miles. When rush-hour traffic slowed to a crawl, police representing three separate departments leapt from their vehicles and swarmed in. Bobbing and weaving for cover behind the cars of terrified commuters, they exchanged fire with the carjackers, ultimately surrounding and emptying their weapons into the UPS van. Nineteen officers let off some 200 rounds. In minutes, both carjackers were dead, as were Ordóñez and a 70-year-old bystander named Richard Cutshaw.
Within hours of Ordóñez’s death, his employer released a statement thanking the police for their role in killing him. “We are deeply saddened to learn a UPS service provider was a victim of this senseless act of violence,” ran the company’s statement that evening. “We extend our condolences to the family and friends of our employee and the other innocent victims involved in the incident. We appreciate law enforcement’s service and will cooperate with the authorities as they continue the investigation.”