The only person believed to have survived a raging inferno and shootout with police walked out of the Miami-Dade County Jail Friday night with scrapes and scratches on his head.
Brian Howell then started talking – recounting the ordeal that unfolded at his West Kendall home three nights ago.
“They didn’t say they were the police, and it didn't say police on the front of their thing, and they just pulled us out,” said Howell, 29. “I think my brother thought it was a home invasion. I think he thought he was just protecting the house.”
Miami-Dade Police raided it, suspecting to be a marijuana grow house. As they approached on Tuesday night, investigators said, somebody inside the house started shooting at them.
Police fired back, a shootout ensued, and the home went up in flames.
Howell acknowledged to NBC 6 that marijuana was being grown inside.
“I lived in the house but that was all my stepdad’s, that was all his thing, I didn’t have anything to do with it,” Howell said, referring to the grow equipment.
Howell, who was released on $5,000 bond, has been charged with possession of a place to manufacture a controlled substance. Eight damaged marijuana plants were found in the house, police said Thursday.
Earlier this week, police found 50-year-old Dell Peter DiGiovanni dead of an apparent suicide.
Police were also searching for a third suspect, Michael Steven DiGiovanni, 28. Authorities found a burned body inside the West Kendall home, and while it hasn’t yet been identified, it’s believed to be Michael DiGiovanni.
Howell, the lone survivor, managed to get to his neighbor’s house. That's where police found him.
“I was trying to survive. I just tried to get out of the line of fire," Howell said. "They told me if you move I'm going to shoot you, and I said there’s shots right around me, I mean, bullets were hitting in front of me. I was like, if I stay here I'm going to get killed."