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Innocent motorist caught in Miramar shootout crossfire was union rep

A lawyer for the union where Rick Cutshaw worked said Cutshaw had just left his office before being killed. “He was going home.”
In this Dec. 5 photo authorities investigate the scene of a shooting in Miramar, Fla. The FBI says several people, including a UPS driver, were killed after robbers stole the driver’s truck and led police on a chase that ended in gunfire at a busy South Florida intersection during rush hour. (Taimy Alvarez/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP) [TAIMY ALVAREZ  |  AP]
In this Dec. 5 photo authorities investigate the scene of a shooting in Miramar, Fla. The FBI says several people, including a UPS driver, were killed after robbers stole the driver’s truck and led police on a chase that ended in gunfire at a busy South Florida intersection during rush hour. (Taimy Alvarez/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP) [TAIMY ALVAREZ | AP]

Miami Herald

The innocent bystander killed in the crossfire between police and jewelry store robbers in Miramar has been identified as Richard “Rick” Cutshaw, a 70-year-old union representative from Pembroke Pines.

The Broward County medical examiner’s office confirmed Cutshaw was one of the victims in the shooting. Don Slesnick, a lawyer for the union where Cutshaw worked, said Cutshaw had just left his office in Miramar before being killed.

“He was going home,” said Slesnick, a former Coral Gables mayor, who represents the Government Supervisors Association of Florida. “The president of the union told me he couldn’t believe it... He had just talked to him.”

RELATED: FBI identifies robbers killed in UPS truck hijack and shootout. Both were ex-cons

Cutshaw was trapped in rush-hour traffic at the intersection of Miramar Parkway and Flamingo Road on Thursday as gunfire erupted between two robbers who hijacked a UPS truck and more than a dozen police officers.

The driver of the UPS truck, 27-year-old Frank Ordonez, was held hostage by the two robbers and killed in the firefight. Both robbers, Lamar Alexander, 41, and Ronnie Hill, 41, were also killed.

On the website for the Office and Professional Employees International Union Local 100, Cutshaw is listed as a field representative.

Slesnick said Cutshaw represented about 2,500 employees in his work as a full-time union executive, joining him in talks with Broward executives for contracts. He said Cutshaw enjoyed a long career working for labor organizations in the area, and that a part of his job was representing government workers in the Naples area as well.

RELATED: What we know about the UPS driver who was taken hostage and killed during shootout

Slesnick described Cutshaw as a fun person to work with, who had a good sense of humor and took his work seriously.

“He was professional enough not to take it so personally to be ineffective. But he certainly believed in what he did,” Slesnick said. “And his whole person was in his job. He took people’s problems to heart.”

One of the people he represented, Loree Jackson, wrote on Facebook that Cutshaw was a kind and supportive union representative.

“He was one of the nicest guys you would ever want to meet. Always kept his cool. Always had a smile. And always had time to listen to us,” she wrote. “Mr. Cutshaw, you will be missed.”

His next door neighbor in SilverLakes, Maria Guzman, said she knew Cutshaw and described him as a “very, very, very nice person.”

RELATED: Robbery suspects, hostage and bystander killed after UPS truck hijacking, dramatic police chase

“He always said hello to people,” Guzman said.

Guzman said she’s lived at the address for 25 years and Cutshaw was one of the first to move into the neighborhood after her. She said he lived at that address for about 18 years and that he lived alone.

“I saw everything about what happened on the TV last night,” Guzman said. “You’d never think it would happen to him, my God.”

He was just a few years from retirement. “It was on the horizon,” said his sister-in-law, Helen Cutshaw.

She said he is survived by five brothers and sisters and his 99-year-old mother, who lives out of state.

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