MIAMI – A botched jewelry store robbery in Florida led to a wild rush hour police pursuit Thursday, resulting in four deaths — including a UPS driver who was carjacked by the suspects in their getaway attempt.
Two suspects and a bystander were also killed during a shootout at a busy intersection in Miramar, capping off the chaotic chain of events that featured a 20-mile long pursuit, FBI Special Agent in Charge George Piro said during a news conference Thursday night, reported ABC 13.
The mayhem unfolded about 4 p.m. in Coral Gables when police were tipped off through a silent alarm at the Regents Jewelers store that a robbery was taking place.
Shots were being fired at the jewelry store when officers arrived. A worker at the store was injured, though it’s unclear if she was shot.
From there, the suspects fled in a van. Shortly after, they carjacked a UPS truck with its driver inside and embarked on a lengthy getaway attempt — much of which was captured by local news helicopters.
The truck blew red lights and nearly struck other vehicles as it sped around Broward County with a contingent of law enforcement vehicles on its tail, the New York Post reported.
The vehicle chase came to a conclusion when the truck’s path was blocked by traffic. Shots then rang out at the busy intersection, leading to the fatalities.
Live news coverage captured a passenger of the UPS truck falling out of the vehicle. It’s unclear who fired the shots that led to the fatalities.
“This is what dangerous people do to get away,” Coral Gables Police Chief Ed Hudak said at a news conference. “And this is what people will do to avoid capture.”
Piro was asked if there was a chance that either the driver or the bystander may have been hit by a bullet fired by police.
“It is very, very early on in the investigation and it would be completely inappropriate to discuss that,” Piro said. “We have just began to process the crime scene. As you can imagine, this is going to be a very complicated crime scene.”
During the robbery, a bullet hit a window at Coral Gables’ City Hall, which was locked down, Hudak said. No one inside City Hall was believed to be injured.
The FBI identified the armed robbery suspects as Lamar Alexander and Ronnie Hill, both 41, according to Fox News.
Alexander was a felon with a lengthy rap sheet, including armed robbery, according to the station.
Florida Department of Corrections records show Alexander was convicted of robbery with a deadly weapon in Lee County in 2009, the station reported. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison and released in 2017.
Hill was also released from prison in 2017, WPLG reported. He had a series of convictions for burglary and robbery.
The UPS driver who was killed had been identified as Frank Ordonez, a 27-year-old man with two young daughters, according to reports.