Police identify suspect arrested after shooting, massive fire at Miami apartment building

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

Jail records show Figueroa was booked into the Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center early Tuesday morning on charges of attempted murder, first-degree arson, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and use of a firearm while committing a felony.

He is expected to appear in bond court later in the day.

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

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

Sky 10 was above the building, located at 431 Northwest Third St., around 9 a.m. Monday as heavy smoke was coming from the building.

It’s part of the Temple Court Apartments complex.

According to first responders, the call came in around 8:15 a.m. as an explosion and there are many elderly people who live at the apartment building.

Miami Fire Rescue Lt. Pete Sanchez confirmed that crews responded to the scene and found heavy smoke and flames coming from the third floor of the building. Officials said they rescued in upwards of 40 people.

“Firefighters extended hose lines into the structure for an aggressive fire attack and simultaneously other crews began rescuing victims from their units,” Sanchez said in an email to Local 10 News. “Multiple residents were rescued from their apartments and some from their balconies. A second alarm was struck based on the operational needs for strategies and tactics.”

The fire was later upgraded to a three-alarm fire.

“This is a three-alarm fire. We haven’t had one in 25 years, and so this is something that is obviously a large event for us and they’re doing a heroic job in dealing with it, including rescuing residents throughout this incident,” Miami Mayor Francis Suarez said during a press conference. “This is a very old structure made in the 1920s. It’s possible that there was some accelerant.”

Suarez said more than 40 units responded to the scene.

When crews arrived, they found Biotte, who had been shot in the abdomen on the third floor.

Reynold Romeus, who identified himself as the cousin and godfather of Biotte, expressed his shock and anguish over the incident, recounting how he initially couldn’t fathom the news of his loved one being shot.

“I never heard him have a problem with nobody. He is a very nice man. He loves his family and that hurt me really bad,” said Romeus.

Suarez said just after 6 p.m. Monday that the suspected shooter had been taken into custody and that the shooter may have started the fire.

Sanchez released a statement Monday night that stated, in part: “At this time, the Miami Fire Investigation Unit, Miami Police, and the State Fire Marshal’s office shall now proceed with their investigation. The incident took eight hours to control, and two units will remain on the scene overnight extinguishing spot fires that may occur. The American Red Cross is assisting displaced residents due to the extent of damage to the building.”

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