Rod Skervin, president of the Broward County Police Charity, said at least 18 officers, most of them from Miami-Dade Police, fired their weapons when robbers at a jewelry store shot them.
Officers chased a hijacked UPS truck from Coral Gables to Miramar after thieves seized Regent’s jewelry at the Miracle Mile in Coral Gables. And killed in the shooting robbers Lamar Alexander and Ronnie Jerome Hill. Kidnapped UPS Driver Frank Ordonez; And a passenger who was in his car, Richard Cucho.
The number of officers who shot is among the few details that have become available since the shootout. The police agencies involved have released little information despite multiple public record requests by the South Florida Sun Sentinel. Police have not yet released the names of the officers who shot.
Among the unanswered questions was who whose bullets killed the four. “We don’t know who shot at from a distance,” said Stedman Schell, president of the Miami Dade Police Charity Association, which represents the thirteen Miami Dade officers.
A spokesman for Broward’s Office of Medical Examiner said all of the projectiles found were delivered to the FBI and Florida Department of Law Enforcement – two agencies conducting investigations – for “analysis and comparison with the weapons used.” Examiners “will make a comparison between the rifle, territory and grooves, to determine which shot came from which rifle.”
The police measures were immediately subject to scrutiny by the public and the Ordonez family.
Ordonez’s stepfather, Joe Merino, said the police acted inappropriately in the shootout. Ordonez was kidnapped in a UPS truck and had to be rescued, not killed, in the midst of the shooting. “The police are here to serve and protect, but where was my son protected?” I asked Merino last week.
Shahal said that the robbers firing at the police underscored the danger the officers must face. “It’s a dangerous time we’re living in.” He said the focus should be more on “the bad guys who play everything.”
Shall said that officers are increasingly aware of the importance of confronting the shooter
“We are trained to engage the shooter,” Shahl said. “If they don’t do that and something bad happens, (people will ask)” Why didn’t you engage them? Why did you allow this to happen? “
If there is an active shooter, “we go after them.” “If we lived in an ideal world, we would only have bullets that hit bad guys.”
Skirvin, whose union represents officers for two agencies, Miramar and Pembroke Pines, said the officers were forced to save their lives by retaliating by shooting at the thieves who were trying to kill them. “We are trained to see if there is an active shooter to respond, to contain the threat and eliminate the threat.”
No policemen were injured in the shooting.
Skirvin said the number of officers shot by the union could increase once the agency investigations are completed. He said that those who shot were: 13 officers from the Miami Dade Police Department. Three (and possibly fourth) officers of Miramar; At least one (and possibly a second) officer from Pembroke Pines; Soldiers are from the Florida Highway Patrol.
The Miramar and Miami-Dade police have admitted that their officers involved have been placed on administrative leave. The Florida Highway Patrol said the involved soldier was on administrative leave during the investigation. Two Pembroke Pines Police Department spokesmen have not responded to questions since Thursday.
Skirvin said that based on the preliminary information available, the officers’ actions “were justified and the union supported them.”
He said the officers wanted to make sure the thieves did not take another hostage or kill someone in the traffic. He said that the expeditionary team and the hostage negotiator were still “on the way, but these men were actively firing and trying to kill people.”
He described the killing of the UPS driver and the passengers as a tragedy and said it was “a very emotional experience for the officer to take his life and it is a life-long event for them to deal with.” He said the officers were “emotionally confused. Our first goal is to protect citizens.”
He said he expected training to improve. “This situation will be analyzed several times,” he said. “We will try to improve our training and tactics to try to prevent loss of life.”