The director of the Miami-Dade Police Department was in critical but stable condition following surgery in a Tampa area hospital a day after shooting himself, state law enforcement officials said Monday.
Alfredo “Freddy” Ramirez, 52, was in Tampa for a law enforcement conference, officials said.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement, or FDLE, is investigating the shooting with the Florida Highway Patrol.
FDLE Commissioner Mark Glass said during a news 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. Ramirez left the hotel, and suffered a self-inflicted gunshot wound after pulling over on Interstate 75 south of Tampa, Glass said.
“Law enforcement is a demanding and stressful career and occupation,” Glass said. “And Director Ramirez has dedicated nearly 30 years of his life to public service and keeping the citizens of Miami-Dade safe. Today is a tragic day in Florida.”
Ramirez is a 27-year Miami-Dade police veteran and was leading the largest law enforcement agency in the southeastern U.S. In May, he announced his intention to seek election for the newly-created role of sheriff in 2024, signaling his desire to remain the leading law enforcement official.
A spokeswoman for Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava told The Associated Press that the mayor traveled to Tampa after the shooting to “support Director Ramirez and his family.” Later Monday, she said in a memo to county commissions that Deputy Director Stephanie Daniels would be filling in as interim director of the Miami-Dade Police Department.
A Tampa police report said officers were called to the downtown Marriott Waterside regarding reports of a man pointing a gun at himself outside the hotel during an argument with a woman. There was no evidence of a crime or immediate danger, the Tampa police report concluded. Ramirez was told he was free to leave.
“Our hearts are with Director Ramirez and his family,” said Tampa police Chief Lee Bercaw, in a statement urging police officers who are struggling to seek help.
Help for first responders and others include the Crisis Center of Tampa Bay, and the U.S. Suicide and Crisis Lifeline, which accepts calls and text messages at 988.