Police find body of 1 man wanted in shootout
SOUTHWEST MIAMI-DADE, Fla. (WSVN) -- Miami-Dade Police has confirmed one of the men wanted in a violent shootout in a Kendall neighborhood has been found dead after he committed suicide.
Miami-Dade Police have confirmed that Dell Peter DiGiovanni, 50, hanged himself. They found his body hanging from a tree near Southwest 147th Avenue and 47th Street, at around 1 p.m. Wednesday.
Earlier in the day, police said they had discovered a body inside a home that burned down following a shootout with narcotics detectives. Authorities recovered the badly burned body at around 11 a.m., earlier in the day. "We believe that it is Michael Steven DiGiovanni," said Miami-Dade Police Detective Alvaro Zabaleta. "Unfortuantely, because of the condition of the body, we have to wait for confrimation for the medical examiner."
Police had been searching for these two men who may be related all night Tuesday, and into Wednesday morning. "Once the fire department was able to utilize the daylight and make the house safe, that's when they discovered a body inside the residence that was burnt," said Miami-Dade Police Detective Alvaro Zabaleta. "We still continued the active search for the additional person, and that's when a call came out today, here at 147 Avenue and 47 Street that a they found a man hanging on a tree."
Police said this all began with a shootout with narcotics detectives Tuesday night, at around 7 p.m., in the area of Southwest 154th Avenue and 57th Street. Authorities did arrest 29-year-old Brian Kelly Howell, after a gun battle that unnerved many residents. Alberto Oria heard the gunfire. "It was a little like war in the movies because I've never been in war," he said, adding, "They have to catch them because the message has to be that if you do something that stupid, you go to jail."
The weapons involved were beleived to have been high-powered rifles. "Like an AK-47. That's probably what it was, very fast shooting," said a resident.
According to Miami-Dade Police, narcotics detectives were called to investigate a suspected marijuana grow house. "As they approached the door, the subjects inside the house, opened fire upon the detectives, and they immediately returned fire," said Zabaleta.
Samuel Tejera knows the suspects, and he does not speak highly of them. "Everybody says that they're crazy, and they'll shoot you or whatever because supposedly they're like super heavily armed."
Investigators had suspected all three men fled on foot from police while the home went up in flames. Police do not know the source of the fire, but the home continued to smolder into Wednesday morning.
Miami-Dade Police agencies and K-9 units had set up a perimeter in the area of Miller Drive to the north, 142nd Avenue to the east, Southwest 64th Street to the south and west at 157th Avenue. The perimeter prohibited several residents from returning to their homes well into the next morning Wednesday. That perimeter has since been broken down.
Alejandro Zagales was kept out of his home for hours, from 8 p.m. Tuesday to 3 a.m. Wednesday. He said his wife was inside the home when the shots were fired. "She said it was definitely not like a regular handgun, where you have some sort of delay or recoil between shots," said Zagales. "It was more automatic and heavy bursts. She went into a room to hide because we have a small boy, and we're trying to protect him."
Stephanie Diaz, a neighbor, recalled the evening as one of the scariest nights of her life. "My brother and sister were crying, and I was trying to calm them. They were really screaming and crying. All we could hear was shooting."
Police agencies from Sweetwater, Hialeah and Coral Gables took part in the search by ground for the suspects. Police believe the two suspects still on the loose are father and son.
Investigators are not ruling out that the suspects may be inside the home, but for a longtime crews deemed the smoldering home too dangerous to enter. "You could see the flames coming from the roof," noted Oria. "I was afraid the house right next door would catch fire because I didn't see firefighters."
No officers were injured.
(Copyright 2013 by Sunbeam Television Corp. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)