Sgt. Eddie Rodriguez told The Associated Press that police got a call around 6:30 p.m. EDT Friday that shots had been fired in a building with dozens of apartments in Hialeah, just a few miles north of Miami.
Although a crisis team was able to briefly establish communication with the man, Rodriguez said talks eventually "just fell apart" with the gunman, who was holding two hostages on the fifth floor. Both of them survived when officers stormed the building, fatally shooting the gunman during an exchange of gunfire.
"They made the decision to go in there and save and rescue the hostages," he said.
The dead bodies of three women and two men were found at two different apartment units inside the building, which Rodriguez said was in a "very quiet neighborhood." Another man who was walking his children into an apartment across the street also was killed. Rodriguez said it wasn't immediately clear whether the gunman took aim at him from an upper-level balcony or if he was hit by a stray bullet.
"From up there, he was able to shoot at people across the street, catching this one man who was just walking into his apartment," Rodriguez said.
The entrance to the neighborhood, which is lined with apartment buildings, remained blocked off early Saturday. Rodriguez said police were still investigating the motive and identifying the gunman and victims.
"Investigators are talking with families of the victims, neighbors, people that were present when all this began," he said. "That way we can start to piece together this huge puzzle that we're working with."
Associated Press writer Suzette Laboy contributed to this report.