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Miami apartment worker identified gunman who shot him, set fire to the building, police say

Miami man charged in shooting, apartment fire ordered held without bond
Miami man charged in shooting, apartment fire ordered held without bond 02:19

MIAMI - The man accused of shooting a worker at a Miami apartment building on Monday before setting the place ablaze appeared in court on Tuesday.

Juan Figueroa, 73, is charged with attempted felony murder, first-degree arson, and use of a firearm while committing a felony. The judge ordered that he be held without bond. 

Man accused of starting a massive apartment fire in Miami, shooting a man appears in court 02:06

Monday morning, around 8:15 a.m., Miami police were called to the Temple Court Apartments complex, at 431 NW 3rd Street, regarding a massive fire at the building.

When officers arrived they found Feder Biotte, an employee of the apartment complex, on the ground in front of the building bleeding from a gunshot wound. He was rushed to Jackson Memorial Hospital in critical condition.

A witness who lives in the building told police around 8 a.m. he heard gunshots and then an explosion.

He said when he left his unit, he found Biotte on the first floor with a gunshot wound to his abdomen. According to the witness, Biotte said "307, the one from 307" in Spanish as he tried to provide first aid.

Police: Man who shot apartment employee started massive Miami apartment fire 03:28

Sources said Figueroa got into an argument with Biotte, 31, shot him, and then started the fire.   

A second witness told police that he heard loud noises as he was going down a stairwell and watched a man run past him and out of the building. He said the man lived in apartment #307.

Police ran a records check and identified the person who lived in #307 as Figueroa.

Miami police then put out an alert that he was wanted for questioning for the shooting and arson.

Just before 4 p.m., Figueroa was taken into custody during a traffic stop at NW 27th Avenue and 28th Street. A .38 caliber revolver was found in his pocket.

During questioning, police said Figueroa spoke over detectives when they tried to repeatedly to read him his rights. He then reportedly said he knew what he had done and expected to be in prison for the rest of his life. He then asked for an attorney.

CBS News Miami spoke with Biotte's godfather, Reynold Romeus, who had posted a video on TikTok from his graduation ceremony as a maintenance technician.

Romeus, said "This is painful. We did not expected this story of thing to happen to someone who was like a loved one. I consider him as a son and my son got shot. I am really worried about him. He's a loving boy and I never saw him get mad at anybody."

He said, "I would like to know why this happened. And I am going to see if justice will work. I need justice for him."

Romeus and Miami Police say Biotte was rushed to the Ryder Trauma Center at Jackson Memorial Hospital in critical condition but police say they believe his condition has stabilized.

Miami Police Captain Freddie Cruz said, "There must have been some sort of argument they had prior to this fire and before he shot the victim and fled."

Cruz said they're still trying to determine how the fire started and when Figueroa allegedly set it, before or after shooting Biotte.   

He provided a little perspective on the shooting and the fire.

"There must have been some sort of argument that escalated. Mr. Figuero produced a firearm and shot the victim and fled the scene. It was something out of a movie and something that we have practiced for. We had over 75 people in that apartment complex, and we were challenged with taking everyone out and everyone was fine. We haven't seen a fire like this in 25 years in Miami," he said.

A record check revealed in the early 90s, Figueroa was convicted of attempted second murder in Miami-Dade and was sentenced in 1992. He was in prison for almost seven years.     

In addition to Biotte who was shot, four others required medical assistance. A Miami Fire Rescue official said three firefighters required hospitalization and one resident was treated for smoke inhalation.     

Nearly 50 people were rescued from the raging fire at the apartment complex, including many elderly who were in wheelchairs. More than 40 of those residents are now displaced

Miami Mayor Francis Suarez says those displaced by the fire will be spending the next two weeks at hotels and then move into permanent housing. 

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