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Man found dead after barricading himself inside home

Home set on fire before man found dead of gunshot wound

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – Police are investigating an apparent suicide after a man was found dead inside a burning home.

Sky 10 was above the scene Friday morning as officers had their guns pointed at the home, 2477 NW 42nd St.

Smoke and flames rose from the house.

Miami-Dade police said the man, identified by loved ones as Juan Meralla, barricaded himself inside the home and threatened to harm himself.

Bernita Brown, who lives next door to Meralla, said police woke her up at about 8:30 a.m., telling her she had to leave her home.

Initially, flames could be seen from several windows inside the home. The fire eventually tore a hole in the roof.

A fire truck sprayed the house with water.

Once the SWAT team arrived, firefighters entered the home and put out the flames.

The SWAT team was positioned outside the home but never appeared to go inside.

Police said Meralla was found dead in the back of the home from a gunshot wound.

No one else was inside the home, police said.

"He was suffering from bipolar (disorder and) depression," family friend Elise Lugo said. "(He was) going through so many health problems that he apparently felt this was, unfortunately, probably the way he wasn't going to be a burden to his family. But he was a wonderful man -- a religious man."

Many law enforcement officers arrived at the home after the incident to offer condolences to the victim's family.

Sources told Local 10 News that Meralla's son is a corrections officer.

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