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Marijuana lab suspect in Kendall wild shootout won’t be prosecuted

Prosecutors on Monday declined to prosecute a man arrested after a wild police shootout at a West Kendall marijuana growhouse that ended with the deaths of two men.

Miami-Dade police originally accused Brian K. Howell with possession of a place to manufacture a controlled substance. But at his arraignment on Monday, prosecutors declined to file formal charges.

Howell had been free from jail on his own recognizance while awaiting trial.

In February, Miami-Dade narcotics detectives, acting on a tip, went to investigate Howell’s home near Miller Drive and Southwest 154th Avenue.

Police say men inside the home opened fire on detectives, leading to a ferocious gunfight that also sparked a blaze at the home. The charred remains of one of the suspected gunman, Michael S. DiGiovanni, was found inside the home.

Howell’s father, Dell Peter DiGiovanni, 50, escaped but later hanged himself from a tree nearby.

Police said eight damaged marijuana plants were found inside the growhouse. Howell, in interviews with a local television station, acknowledged that marijuana was grown in the house but insisted he had nothing to do with the operation.

Howell claimed that his brother, DiGiovanni, might have opened fire because he believed he was being robbed.