Eight damaged marijuana plants were found in the West Kendall grow house that was the scene of an officer involved shootout with a trio of suspects that ended with the home on fire and a massive manhunt, police said Thursday.
The news comes as one of the suspects, 29-year-old Brian Kelly Howell, was charged with possession of a place to manufacture a controlled substance in the incident that began Tuesday night at the home in the 15400 block of Southwest 57th Street, according to a Miami-Dade Police arrest affidavit.
One of the other suspects, 50-year-old Dell Peter DiGiovanni, was found dead of an apparent suicide in the area of Southwest 48th Terrace and Southwest 147th Place Wednesday.
The third suspect, 28-year-old Michael Steven DiGiovanni may still be at large, though police have yet to identify a burned body that was found in the house early Wednesday.
The incident began around 7:15 p.m. Tuesday when detectives conducting a narcotics investigation approached the home and came under fire from the suspects, police said.
As detectives returned fire, the house caught fire and the suspects fled the scene on foot, police said.
Howell was caught after police set up a perimeter in the area but a massive manhunt was begun to locate the DiGiovanni's. Residents later found Dell DiGiovanni's body hanging from a tree.
Authorities waited until daylight Wednesday to enter the grow house, where in addition to the marijuana plants, they found an electrical transformer, two electric fans, one inside wall-mounted air conditioning unit and two light bulb mounts, according to the arrest affidavit.
Howell admitted to police that he assisted in the cultivation of a marijuana hydroponics lab at the house, the affidavit said.
Jail records showed Howell was being held without bond Thursday. It was unknown whether he has an attorney.