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Police identify suspect after shooting and fire in Miami apartment building

MIAMI – Police have identified the man arrested following Monday’s shooting and fire at a four-story Miami apartment building as 73-year-old Juan Francisco Figueroa.

Jail records show Figueroa was booked into Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center early Tuesday morning. He is charged with attempted murder, first-degree arson, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and use of a firearm in the commission of a felony.

He is expected to appear in bail court later today.

According to police, a man – identified by property management as an employee – was found shot dead on the third floor of the building.

Family members identified the injured man as 30-year-old Feder Biotte.

Sky 10 was above the building at 431 Northwest Third St. around 9 a.m. Monday when thick smoke rose from the building.

SKY 10 ABOUT APARTMENT FIRE IN MIAMI:

It is part of the Temple Court Apartments complex.

According to first responders, the emergency call came in at around 8:15 a.m. because there had been an explosion and numerous elderly people lived in the apartment building.

Miami Fire Rescue Lt. Pete Sanchez confirmed that crews were on scene and discovered heavy smoke and flames coming from the third floor of the building. Officials said they rescued over 40 people.

“Firefighters deployed hoses into the building to conduct an aggressive firefighting attack, and at the same time, other teams began rescuing victims from their units,” Sanchez said in an email to Local 10 News. “Several residents were rescued from their apartments and some from their balconies. A second alarm was activated due to operational requirements for strategies and tactics.”

The fire alarm level was later raised to III.

“This is a Level 3 fire. We haven’t had one in 25 years, so obviously this is a big event for us and they’re doing a heroic job of managing it, including rescuing residents during the incident,” Miami Mayor Francis Suarez said during a press conference. “This is a very old building from the 1920s. It’s possible there was an accelerant.”

Suarez said more than 40 units arrived at the scene.

When emergency responders arrived, they found Biotte on the third floor, shot in the stomach.

Reynold Romeus, who identified himself as Biotte’s cousin and godfather, expressed his shock and dismay at the incident and described how he was initially unable to comprehend the news that his loved one had been shot.

“I never heard that he had a problem with anyone. He is a very nice man. He loves his family and this hurt me very much,” Romeus said.

Suarez said shortly after 6 p.m. Monday that the suspected shooter had been arrested and that the gunman may have set the fire.

Sanchez released a statement Monday evening that said, in part, “At this time, the Miami Fire Investigation Unit, Miami Police and the State Fire Marshal’s office will continue their investigation. It took eight hours to get the incident under control and two units will remain on site throughout the night to extinguish any fires that may arise. The American Red Cross is assisting the homeless residents due to the extent of the damage to the building.”

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