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2 suspects dead after wild shootout; one body in burned house, another hanged

Police on Wednesday found two dead men following a wild shootout that locked down a West Kendall neighborhood and led police on an all-night manhunt.

One body was found inside a burned house where the shootout took place. Another man was found hanged in an apparent suicide about 10 blocks away.

The saga started on Tuesday night when gunmen opened fire with automatic weapons, possibly set a home ablaze and then fled.

One suspect, Brian Kelly Howell, 29, was in custody as of Wednesday morning. Dell Peter DiGiovanni, 50, was found dead after a 911 call to report a hanging at Southwest 48th Terrace and 147th Avenue.

Michael Steven DiGiovanni, 27, may still be at large. The body in the burned house has not been identified.

Police said Wednesday afternoon there is still one suspect on the run.

Dectives raided the home, off Miller Drive and Southwest 154th Avenue, suspected of being a marijuana grow house.

As police approached the home, the three men inside opened fire on the officers using automatic, possibly high-powered, weapons. Police shot back. No officers were injured, police said Wednesday.

Shellshocked neighbors cowered inside their homes as bullets flew outside.

“At first we thought it was firecrackers, but when we went outside the police yelled at us to get back inside,” said a woman who lives on the block but did not want to be identified.

“By the end, it sounded like a real gun battle,” she said. “We called 911 and hid in the rear of the house.”

The incident intensified when police and SWAT teams from several departments closed in on the house. The men inside could have set fire to the house, but it was unclear early Wednesday how the fire started. The flames could be seen from blocks away.

The home in a cul-de-sac at 15415 SW 57th St. burned for hours. “Firefighters at first couldn’t get to the scene,” the neighbor said late Tuesday.

After the men apparently slipped away, police helicopters hovered overhead, using megaphones to alert the neighborhood of the armed men and warning them to stay indoors.

Residents reached by The Miami Herald said the home was a “known problem in the neighborhood.” They said two young male adults and an older man, possibly the father of one of them, lived at the house. The men told their neighbors that they hailed from Virginia. It appears they rented the home at 15415 SW 57th St. for several years. According to property records, the three-bedroom, two-bathroom, two-story house is owned by Julian and Lily Leyva.

About 10:30 p.m., police relaxed their perimeter, allowing residents who had been kept out of their neighborhood to return to their homes.

Some who lived on the block said the residents of the home had long been considered a nuisance. Last month, one of the men, allegedly under the influence, crashed his car into a tree on the block; another recently drove over several neighbors’ mailboxes.

“They kept to themselves, but if anything bad happened on the block; they were usually the ones to blame,” said the neighbor.

Told that police described the home as a marijuana grow house, the woman said: “I’m not surprised.”

Miami Herald reporter Manny Navarro contributed to this report

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