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State official: Miami-Dade's police chief in critical but stable condition after shooting himself

A man in a police uniform gestures at a podium.
Daniel A. Varela
Miami Herald
Alfredo “Freddy” Ramirez, 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. (Above) Ramirez during a press conference at Miami-Dade Emergency Operations in Doral, Florida, on Monday, July 26, 2021.

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 jointly 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. We pray for his full recovery."

The Miami Herald and WPLG reported that Ramirez’s wife, Jody, was traveling with him at the time, but Glass wouldn't confirm whether Ramirez was with anyone. Glass did say that no one else was injured during the shooting.

According to a Tampa police report, Ramirez had pointed a gun at himself during the argument Sunday, showing there were issues before the reported shooting.

"All that matters right now is Chief Ramirez’s wellbeing,” Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said.

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.

“We have been advised by local law enforcement agencies that our Director, Alfredo ‘Freddy’ Ramirez, has suffered a critical injury in the Tampa area," a statement from the Miami-Dade Police Department said. “We ask you to please keep him in your prayers.”

Late Monday afternoon, Miami-Dade Mayor Levine Cava announced that she appointed Deputy Director Stephanie V. Daniels as Interim Director for the Miami-Dade Police Department, and JD Patterson as Interim Chief of Public Safety.

"We continue to uplift Chief Ramirez, his family, and his entire law enforcement family in our hearts and prayers as we pray for his swift recovery," she said in a statement from her office.

A spokeswoman for Levine Cava told The AP that the mayor traveled to Tampa after the shooting to “support Director Ramirez and his family.”

In a statement released Monday afternoon, Miami−Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle said she had spoken with Ramirez’ family members to offer her support along with other top county officials.

“An incident such as this is so deeply saddening, and I am praying and hoping for Chief Freddy Ramirez’ full recovery,” she said. “While the latest report is that he is in stable condition, let us all continue to pray for him during this time of healing.”

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. The report did not include the name of the woman with Ramirez, but the local news outlets identified her as his wife.

Officers arrived after witnesses and only got third-hand accounts of the argument, the report said. There was no security footage. They found Ramirez leaving a hotel room. He told the officers he had been in an argument with the woman, but denied pulling out a gun. Ramirez said he had no intent of harming himself or others and the woman corroborated his account. She told officers that she was not in danger.

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.

WLRN Staff contributed to this story.

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