The two armed men who hijacked a UPS truck and were killed after a wild police chase through South Florida had long criminal histories and had recently been released from prison.
Authorities on Friday identified the men as Lamar Alexander, 41, and Ronnie Hill, 41, both of whom were released from state prison in 2017.
Police officers shot the men to death Thursday evening after a chaotic and fast-moving standoff in the middle of rush-hour traffic. The confrontation unfolded on live television. A UPS driver taken hostage and a bystander in a nearby car were also shot to death during the firefight.
Investigators believe Alexander and Hill were the ones who robbed a jewelry store in Coral Gables on Thursday afternoon, then hijacked UPS truck driver Frank Ordonez, holding him hostage during the high-speed pursuit.
Records show that Alexander was convicted of an armed robbery in Lee County in 2008, and was released in 2017, according to corrections records.
Alexander’s brother, Corey Smith, is the football coach at Miami Senior High School. Smith said Alexander had three children.
Smith said he was headed home from football practice Thursday night when he got a “hysterical” call from his mom. When he got home, they watched the conclusion of the shootout on the news.
“I didn’t know he was living like that,” Smith said. “In life, you gotta make better decisions. We weren’t raised like that. I love my brother, but he’s been making bad decisions his whole life.”
Smith said his condolences go out to Ordonez’s family, the loved ones of the innocent bystander and all the police who responded.
“It was a situation that shouldn’t have happened,” he said.
Hill most recently finished a year prison sentence for a series of burglaries, state records show.