MIRAMAR (CBSMiami) – The two armed robbery suspects who led police on a two-county chase in a carjacked UPS truck that ended in Miramar in a bloody shootout may have been involved in at least two other South Florida robberies, according to a senior law enforcement source familiar with the investigation.
The FBI was already looking for the men when Thursday’s shooting occurred, according to the source.READ MORE: New Study Shows Negative Toll Police Killings Has On Mental Health Of Black Americans
Thursday’s robbery at the Regent Jeweler’s on Miracle Mile in Coral Gables was carried out in the same way as previous robberies which occurred in the past couple of months.
One of the robbers posed as a deliveryman and was carrying a box when he entered the store. He was also wearing some type of uniform. In Thursday’s robbery, the men made off with diamond jewelry, watches, and cash, according to the source.
Friday morning Miramar Parkway just east of Flamingo Road remained closed to traffic as crime scene technicians continued to gather evidence. Two semi-automatic handguns were recovered at the scene. The UPS was towed to the FBI office in Miami.
“As you can imagine this is going to be a very complicated crime scene. As well there are multiple other crime scenes,” said George Piro, Special Agent in Charge of the Miami Field Office.
Flamingo Road was re-opened to traffic early Friday afternoon.
Four people were killed in the shooting.
“The armed suspects engaged law enforcement, opened fire, exchanged fire between law enforcement and the suspects,” said Piro. “Unfortunately, the suspects are now deceased, but also two additional innocent civilians deceased.”
One man who worked nearby, but didn’t want to be identified, described the chaos as police screamed and people began fleeing their cars in the intersection.
“Get down, get down, then it was like boom, boom, boom, more than 50 shots and people just started running from their cars,” he said.
“We are deeply saddened that UPS service provider Frank Ordonez passed away from a senseless act of violence on December 5, 2019. We extend our deepest condolences to his family and friends and the other innocent victims involved in this incident.”
“Frank joined UPS in July 2016, working first as a package handler and then as a service provider (driver) where he served various parts of the metro Miami area.”
Senior Manager, Public Relations | UPS
No word from law enforcement whether shots fired from the kidnappers’ weapons killed Ordonez and Cutshaw.
The City of Miramar also released a statement on the shooting which read in part:
“Yesterday, a tragedy unfolded on the streets of the City of Miramar, in which innocent victims lost their lives. The City’s Mayor Wayne Messam, Vice Mayor Alexandra P. Davis, Commissioners and City Administration express great sadness for the lives lost and deepest condolences to the grieving families.READ MORE: Survey: Post-COVID Vacations May Be On Horizon With Vaccines Accelerating
Our hearts go out to the families of the victims and everyone who is impacted in some way by this unforeseen tragedy. As a City, we stand in solidarity with the community as we try to get through this together.”
The FBI has identified the two armed robbery suspects as Lamar Alexander, 41, and Ronnie Jerome Hill, 41, both of Miami-Dade County.
There has been some criticism of the police on social media for moving in on the suspects too fast.
According to a law enforcement source, officers from five different agencies closed in on the truck because they were concerned the gunmen would start shooting at the civilians in the cars around them at the stoplight. The gunmen had already shown they were willing to shoot at civilians in cars during the chase. Nineteen officers discharged their weapons.
The source noted that the truck did not appear to be trying to maneuver through the intersection.
“They decided that (intersection) was going to be their last stand,” said the source who added that SWAT teams and hostage negotiators were on their way but it all ended before they arrived.
Goral Gables Police Chief Ed Hudak said the incident began with the jewelry store robbery. Police were alerted to the robbery after receiving a silent alarm at 4:14 p.m.
“Officers responded within a minute and a half. Within that minute and a half the subjects exchanged gunfire with the proprietor who also fired back,” said Hudak.
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A female store employee was shot in the exchange.
The thieves got away as bullets flew in the back alley of the store.
One of the bullets traveled across Le Jeune into City Hall. A bullet hit a window at the city clerk’s office.
Just minutes later, a report of a carjacking came in.
A mile away on Mariana Avenue, the gunmen ditched their getaway car, a U-Haul van.MORE NEWS: Coronavirus: Out Of Work? These Places Are Hiring
A UPS delivery truck became their next target and they carjacked Ordonez at gunpoint. Holding Ordonez as their hostage at gunpoint, Hill and Lamar led police on a winding 23 miles chase that lasted about an hour and ended in the shootout in Miramar.