MIRAMAR, Fla. – While mourning his death, the family of the UPS driver killed in Thursday’s shootout in Florida is also lashing out at police who they believe are responsible for the loss of life.
“They murdered him,” Joe Merino, the stepfather of Frank Ordonez, told WPLG-TV. “I hope you can understand that and how I feel because it could have been prevented.”
While admitting he’s not a police officer, Merino wondered why there was a rush to open fire at the truck before other options were considered.
“I have common sense, like we all do, and it shows me, where’s the protocol? Where was protocol? Where was SWAT? Where was the hostage negotiator? Where was the sniper?” Merino said. “They shot him dead!"
Merino believes police failed to consider the innocent victims, including his stepson, during the incident.
“The negligence, the irresponsibility, the lack of life, the lack of concern," Merino said. “The disregard for life for the victim.”
A former UPS employee himself, Merino said the video of the shootout is proof that police acted inappropriately at the scene, calling it the “wild, wild west.”
“There’s bullets everywhere," he said. "It was a war zone. How can this happen in today’s day and age?”
Moments after Merino spoke with WPLG, Miami-Dade Police Director Juan Perez responded to the family’s claims in an interview with WPLG′s Andrew Perez.
“Their perceptions are because they have lost loved ones, so you can’t argue with the way they view things. They’re speaking with pure emotion and, again, I completely understand and I empathize with the loss of their family.”
Merino said the family remains in shock less 24 hours after Ordonez’s death, having not slept all night. He added that the family was frustrated about the original lack of communication from law enforcement officials regarding their son’s status.
Ordonez was killed after gunfire broke out between police and the two suspects who stole the UPS truck after an attempted armed robbery in Coral Gables. Police opened fire after the truck came to a stop on Miramar Parkway. Ordonez, the two suspects and an innocent bystander were killed.
Using the handle @Geneviemerino, “Genny” mourned the loss of her brother on Twitter, but also blames the police for his death.
“Today I lost my brother because of the (expletive) negligence and stupidity of the police," “Genny" wrote in the post. "Instead of negotiating with a hostage situation they just shot everyone.”
(WARNING: The social media post below contains language some may find inappropriate)
Today I lost my brother, because of the fucking negligence and stupidity of the police. Instead of negotiating with a hostage situation they just shot everyone. (Including my brother) please retweet this so everyone can be aware how stupid these cops are. pic.twitter.com/DyFN2ZUoAX— genny♡ (@geneviemerino) December 6, 2019
Ordonez’s stepfather said he will continue to speak out against what he calls his son’s murder by police, claiming they were only protecting themselves when the shootout began.
“What bothers me is the fact that the police went home that night to their families; to their daughters and sons and their wives," he said. “Frank is never coming back. He wasn’t afforded that right -- the right that police is supposed to protect all of us -- and they didn’t protect him when he most needed it.”