FORT LAUDERDALE, Florida (AP/FloridaToday.news) — The Miami-Dade Police Department chief was in critical but stable condition after undergoing surgery at a Tampa County hospital a day after he shot himself, state law enforcement officials said Monday.
Alfredo “Freddie” Ramirez, 52, was in Tampa for a law enforcement conference, officials said.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement, or FDLE, is working with the Florida Highway Patrol to investigate the shooting.
FDLE Commissioner Mark Glass said during a press conference Monday afternoon that Tampa police had responded to a domestic dispute between Ramirez and his wife earlier Sunday at the hotel where the conference was being held. According to Glass, Ramirez left the hotel and was shot and injured after he pulled over on Interstate 75 south of Tampa.
“Law enforcement is a difficult and stressful career and occupation,” Glass said. “Director Ramirez has dedicated almost 30 years of his life to public service and to keeping the citizens of Miami-Dade safe. Today is a tragic day in Florida.”
A spokesperson for the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office confirmed to 7News that Ramirez’s wife was traveling with him at the time of the incident, but Glass did not confirm if Ramirez was with anyone. Glass said no one else was hurt during the shooting.
According to a Tampa police report, Ramirez pointed a gun at himself during an altercation on Sunday, showing there were issues before the shooting was reported.
“All that matters right now is the well-being of Chief Ramirez,” Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Kawa said.
Ramirez is a 27-year veteran of the Miami-Dade Police Department and has headed the largest law enforcement agency in the southeastern United States. In May, he announced his intention to seek election to the newly created office of sheriff in 2024, signaling his desire to remain a leading law enforcement officer.
“Local law enforcement has informed us that our director, Alfredo “Freddie” Ramirez, was critically injured in the Tampa area,” the Miami-Dade Police Department said in a statement. “We ask you to pray for him.”
Levin Kava’s spokeswoman told the AP that the mayor traveled to Tampa after the shooting to “support Principal Ramirez and his family.” Later Monday, she said in a memo to county commissions that Deputy Director Stephanie Daniels would be acting director of the Miami-Dade Police Department.
A Tampa police report said officers were called to the Marriott Waterside Center in response to reports of a man pointing a gun at himself outside a hotel during an argument with a woman. The message did not include the name of the woman with Ramirez, but local news outlets identified her as his wife.
The report says that the police arrived after witnesses and received information only from third parties. There was no surveillance video. They found Ramirez leaving the hotel room. He told officers that he had had an argument with the woman, but denied drawing a gun. Ramirez said he had no intention of harming himself or others, and the woman confirmed his version. She told the police that she was not in danger.
There was no evidence of a crime or immediate danger, Tampa police said in a report. Ramirez was told that he could leave.
“Our hearts go out to Director Ramirez and his family,” Tampa Police Chief Lee Bercow said in a statement urging police officers who are struggling to reach out for help.
Deputy Director Stephanie Daniels has been appointed by Cava as Interim Director of the MDPD. J.D. Patterson was named interim chief of public safety.
If you or someone you know is struggling, help is available through the Suicide and Crisis Helpline at 988. You can also contact the National Alliance on Mental Illness at NAMI.org.
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