A jewelry store robbery in South Florida ended in a wild shootout after a police chase in a stolen UPS truck. A UPS driver and a motorist were killed in the shootout, police say.
The incident began at 4:17 p.m. Thursday with a silent burglary alarm at Regent Jeweler's located at 386 Miracle Mile in Coral Gables.
According to the Miami Herald, an armed robber fired a shot into the floor in the store. The bullet ricocheted, hitting a store clerk in the forehead. She was transported to a local hospital. Her condition is unknown. Another bullet went through the window at the city clerk's office in city hall across the street, the Herald reports.
Coral Gables police chief Edward Hudak said the armed robbers hijacked a UPS truck in Coral Gables and fled as several police agencies gave chase.
A caravan of police cars followed the stolen UPS truck through city streets, down the Florida turnpike and onto Interstate 75. The truck exited the highway in Pembroke Pines and weaved through city streets about 20 miles north of Coral Gables. The truck broke through a wooden gate into the Century Village community.
The truck came to a stop at the busy intersection of Miramar Parkway near Flamingo Road in Broward County, where the robbers opened fire at police.
Video from a news chopper shows about 20 police officers returning fire from all angles. Some of the officers used civilian vehicles as shields.
Two men were seen crawling over each other through the truck's open passenger door onto the asphalt pavement. One of the men was the UPS driver. The unidentified driver is among the deceased.
Steadman Stahl, the president of the Miami-Dade Police Benevolent Association, was unapologetic about the police engaging the suspects in a firefight at a crowded intersection.
"It's unfortunate that the bystanders were killed, but the bad guys put all this in motion," said Stahl. He added: "Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of the two innocent bystanders."
A UPS spokesman released a statement after learning of the fate of their driver:
"We are deeply saddened to learn a UPS service provider was a victim of this senseless act of violence. We extend our condolences to the family and friends of our employee and the other innocent victims involved in this incident. We appreciate law enforcement’s service and will cooperate with the authorities as they continue the investigation."