TAMPA, Fla – Miami-Dade Police Director Alfredo “Freddy” Ramirez has been hospitalized in the Tampa area after shooting himself along Interstate 75, multiple sources have confirmed to Local 10 News.
Sources say Ramirez’s wife, Jody, was in the car with him just before it happened.
Ramirez was in the Tampa area attending the Sheriff’s Summer Conference, which was being held at the JW Marriott in downtown Tampa. Sunday evening was the first night of the four-day event.
Multiple sources tell Local 10 News that Ramirez and his wife, who he has been married to since 1995, had stepped outside the hotel at about 6:30 p.m. and had begun fighting, at which time a witness saw Ramirez putting a gun to his mouth, prompting them to call 911.
(BELOW: Florida Department of Law Enforcement press conference)
When Tampa police arrived, the witness was gone and both Ramirez and his wife denied anything, sources said.
Tampa police confirmed in a news release that they made contact with Ramirez on the 12th floor of the hotel at 6:50 p.m. and said the police director and the “white female” he was with acknowledged getting into an argument, but claimed no gun was displayed.
“After additional questioning, Ramirez stated he had no intention to harm himself or others,” the news release stated. “The known female corroborated that they had an argument and that she did not have any concerns about her safety being in danger.”
Police said the hotel’s surveillance cameras did not capture the altercation between the two.
According to sources, the two were ultimately asked to leave the hotel and drove off together. They said Ramirez then pulled off I-75 in the Riverview area of Hillsborough County, where he shot himself in the head and that it was his wife who called 911.
Sources said he shot himself in the right temple and the bullet exited through his right eye. They said Ramirez was taken to Tampa General Hospital where he was expected to survive.
The Miami-Dade Police Department issued a statement Monday morning, saying the 52-year-old police director underwent surgery and is now in “critical but stable condition.”
“We are asking for everyone to continue to keep him and his family in your prayers during this difficult time,” the statement read.
Later in the day, the police department confirmed that Ramirez was undergoing another surgery for his injuries.
“The entire Miami-Dade Police Department stands together behind Freddy and asks that our community continue to keep him in their prayers,” the updated statement read. “Out of respect for his close family and friends, we ask for privacy at this difficult time.”
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) confirmed that they are investigating the incident along with the Florida Highway Patrol.
FDLE Commissioner Mark Glass, FDLE Special Agent in Charge Mark Brutnell and FHP Colonel Gary Howze held a five-minute press conference on Monday at 4 p.m.
“This is a tragic day in Florida and the law enforcement community stands with Director Ramirez and his family,” said Glass.
He recounted to reporters the series of events known about the incident that led to Ramirez’s injuries on Sunday, saying that the investigation is still in very preliminary stages.
“Tampa PD was called to the hotel about a possible domestic dispute involving Director Ramirez who was in town for a conference. No arrests were made and Director Ramirez left the hotel traveling Interstate 75. Shortly thereafter, he pulled off to the side of the road around Mile Marker 244. The preliminary investigation shows that Director Ramirez suffered from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. He suffered serious head injuries and remains in critical, but stable condition.”
Glass said investigators are conducting interviews, identifying witnesses and obtaining video evidence to “help us piece together the events from last night.”
He stressed that because the investigation is active, the information that could be released is “limited.”
FDLE released a statement earlier in the day on Monday.
“FDLE and FHP are investigating an incident involving Miami-Dade Police Director Freddy Ramirez last night on I-75 South of Tampa,” the statement read. “FDLE Agents and Troopers were on scene and will continue conducting investigative interviews today. Director Ramirez suffered serious injuries and is hospitalized. No one else was injured. There is no threat to the community. Our investigation is active.”
The police director, who has more than 27 years of law enforcement experience, rose through the ranks of the Miami-Dade Police Department after being hired in 1995, currently serving in a dual role under Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava’s administration as director of the Miami-Dade Police Department and chief of Safety and Emergency Response, which are responsible for both the oversight of the police department and fire department.
In May, Ramirez had also made known his intention to run for county sheriff in Miami-Dade County.
In 2021, Ramirez and other top brass in Miami-Dade County shared their own mental health struggles after two South Florida officers died by suicide.
Video: Ramirez talks about mental health struggles
“You can take the uniform off, but the experiences that you go through stay with you,” Ramirez said.
Ramirez told Local 10 News that as a young officer working the Cutler Ridge district, he learned to compartmentalize his stress and was reluctant to ask for help.
“No, I would not,” Ramirez recalled at the time. “As a young officer, I didn’t -- most officers have pictures of their kids on the dashboard. I didn’t have that.”
Ramirez shared photos of himself playing guitar, which he said had become a stress reliever and an outlet for him.
A number of law enforcement officials and elected leaders, including Mayor Daniella Levine Cava, offered their support to Ramirez, his family and the department Monday.
Deputy Director Stephanie Daniels was named interim head of the police department on Monday, while Chief of Corrections and Forensics JD Patterson took on Ramirez’s role as chief of public safety on an interim basis, overseeing MDPD, Miami-Dade Fire Rescue, the corrections department and other public safety agencies.
If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, help is available 24/7 by calling the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 988.