MIAMI(CBSMiami) – The 27-year-old UPS driver killed during a police shootout in Miramar was laid to rest on Tuesday.
Frank Ordonez’s final resting place was at Vista Memorial Gardens in Miami Lakes. More than 100 people attended a final service there including his mother Luz Apolinario.
Before she left Vista Memorial Gardens, she told CBS4’s Peter D’Oench, “I want justice for my child. I don’t want it to stay like this. I want you the media to be my voice. The only thing I know is that I left my child here and I am not going to leave here with my son. I am going to leave by myself. He was the best kid in the world.”
She has said her son looked forward to celebrating Christmas with everyone and had said she immigrated to this country from Ecuador and came here for a better life and did not expect to see her son killed in South Florida.
D’Oench also reported there is a growing makeshift memorial for Ordonez where he was killed on Miramar Parkway just east of Flamingo Road. People have been stopping by throughout the day, leaving mementos, balloons and flowers and notes, saying “Rest in Peace Frank.”
“The moment that you get to the cemetery and you see that coffin rolling down the ground that’s when reality sets in,” said Ordonez’s stepfather Joe Merino.
Family members, friends, and fellow UPS workers gathered at the Vior Funeral Home in Miami on Monday to pay their respects to Ordonez.
Merino said the UPS driver who called in sick prompting Ordonez to take his shift last week approached him at the viewing and said “I’m the driver that called in and it should be me they’re not Frank.”
“I said to him it’s not your fault, we all have a clock inside. The one who decides to stop the clock is God and that was my way of comforting him,” said Merino.
Not that Orondez has been laid to rest, his family said they will begin the work of holding those accountable for his death.
“I need all of you to help me make sure that this tragedy does not go away,” said Merino. “Please don’t let this story die down. We want justice. We want every single bit of evidence to come out and be put on the table.”
He recalled his final conversation with Merino.
“It was Wednesday night and we were having dinner and told he was going to get a big house because he was going to get a regular route and be a regular driver in January and he wanted to buy a house with 5 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms.”
Merino said there has been an outpouring of support.
“This story has gone global,” he said. “And I have nothing but praise for the people at UPS and the Teamsters union. They answered the bell. They answered the call for all of us. When you have two of the members of the corporate board of directors fly down to Miami for the viewing that is impressive. I spoke with them last night and the Teamsters President was there as well too.”
Ordonez, a father of two, was held hostage by two thieves who stole his UPS truck last Thursday after robbing a Coral Gables jewelry. They led police on a two-county chase which came to a violent end on Miramar Parkway when the robbery suspects exchanged gunfire with police.
They were both killed as was Ordonez who was caught in the crossfire.
“Frank was such an amazing person. He was always there for you. He was there for everything. He was my brother and my best friend. He always wanted the best for me and he was always there for me,” said his 15-year-old sister, Genevie Merino. “I am never going to find someone like that ever again and I know he is one of a kind.”
Richard Cutshaw, 70, of Pembroke Pines was also killed. He was an innocent bystander struck by gunfire.
Cutshaw was described by neighbors as “the nicest guy,” who was about to retire.
Ordonez’s family supporters are organizing several press conferences and what one family friend described as a countywide march questioning the force and tactics used by police to end the chase.