An armed robbery at a jewelry store in Florida ended with four people killed in a fatal shootout on Thursday after the thieves hijacked a UPS truck and led police in a high-speed chase on a highway.
The two robbers, a UPS driver and a person in a nearby car were killed in the shooting in Miramar, George Piro, an FBI agent, told reporters. Police said no officers were killed.
A female employee of Regent Jewelers in nearby Coral Gables was injured, that city’s police force said. Her status was not immediately clear, Police Chief Ed Hudak told reporters.
The incident began when Coral Gables police received a silent holdup alarm from the jewelry store in the city’s Miracle Mile section about 4:15 p.m., Hudak said. In the 90 seconds before officers arrived, he said two people exchanged gunfire with the store owner.
Some bullets reached city hall across the street, and one hit a window, Hudak said. Employees were locked down, he said, and none were injured.
The robbers fled north in a truck and, about 20 minutes later, abducted a UPS truck and its driver at gunpoint while the driver was making a delivery in Coral Gables, Hudak said.
Several police cars chased the UPS truck on a highway in Broward County before the truck became mired in traffic, video shows. When the truck stopped in a middle lane, officers swarmed it with their guns drawn. First responders later carried a stretcher from the truck to an ambulance.
The FBI is leading the investigation. Area police and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are assisting.
“The armed suspects engaged law enforcement in open fire,” the FBI’s Piro told reporters.
Piro said it would be “completely inappropriate” to discuss whether the UPS driver or the bystander may have been hit by officers’ gunfire.
“We have just begun to process the crime scene,” he said. “As you can imagine, this is going to be a very complicated crime scene.”
Drivers on the road, identified by the Miami Herald as Miramar Parkway, shared what appeared to be photos and videos of the incident on social media.
“This is what dangerous people do to get away,” Hudak, the Coral Gables chief, said. “And this is what people will do to avoid capture.”
Hudak said he did not know whether the people succeeded in taking anything from the jewelry store.
David Graves, a spokesman for UPS, said the company would cooperate with the probe.
“We are deeply saddened to learn a UPS service provider was a victim of this senseless act of violence,” Graves said in a statement. “We extend our condolences to the family and friends of our employee and the other innocent victims involved in this incident.”