The director overseeing Miami-Dade Police Department, the largest police department in the Southeast, was involved in a domestic dispute Sunday night after which he shot himself on the side of the highway near Tampa.
MDPD Director Alfredo “Freddy” Ramirez III, who is also a candidate for the county’s first elected sheriff position in decades, has gone through two surgeries to treat injuries, according to MDPD spokesperson. At a press conference held by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement Monday afternoon, Commissioner Mark Glass said Ramirez had “serious” head injuries but his condition is stable.
Timeline: what we know
The FDLE and the Florida Highway Patrol are running a joint investigation into the incident. At the press conference Monday, they declined to answer questions as it is an ongoing investigation, but praised Ramirez for his career. Here is what officials have released so far:
- Tampa Police said they responded to a report of a male with a gun outside the Marriott Waterside hotel shortly after 6:30 p.m. Sunday. Initial interviews indicated that the man had been pointing the gun at himself, but police could not find witnesses or security footage to corroborate that story.
- Police found the man, later confirmed as Ramirez, inside the hotel with an unidentified woman, according to the police statement. Ramirez admitted to having an argument with the woman but denied showing a firearm or having any intention to harm himself or others.
- The woman said she did not fear for her safety, according to police, at which point Ramirez was released.
- Upon release, Ramirez headed South on I-75 and pulled over where the shots occurred. No one else was injured, officials say.
- MDPD released a few brief statements Monday providing updates on Ramirez’s condition and asking for privacy. “The entire Miami-Dade Police Department stands together behind Freddy and asks that our community continue to keep him in their prayers.”
As reported by the Miami Herald, Ramirez was in Tampa to attend the Florida Sheriff’s Association summer conference with his wife.
Who is Miami-Dade Police Director Freddy Ramirez?
Director Ramirez serves a dual role as the Chief of Safety and Emergency Response, overseeing MDPD and the Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Department, according to his government biography.
Ramirez has worked his way up through the ranks since joining MDPD more than 25 years ago. He became police director in January 2020, and was promoted to the Chief of Public Safety under Miami Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava.
She released a statement Monday morning calling for his swift recovery.
Ramirez recently announced his candidacy to become Miami-Dade County’s first elected sheriff since the position was eliminated due to a number of corruption scandals in the 1960s.
As reported by the Miami Herald, Ramirez changed his party affiliation from Republican to Independent in 2022, and from Independent to Democrat in January 2023 as he prepared for his run. That would have given Democratic Mayor Levine Cava the opportunity to relinquish the sheriff powers, currently held by her, to a high-profile law enforcement figure in the same party.
Levine Cava praised Ramirez’s record when asked if she would endorse him as Ramirez considered his candidacy.
“Freddy Ramirez is an outstanding public servant,” she told the Miami Herald. “I have great confidence in his ability to lead.”
According to his campaign website, Ramirez married his high school sweetheart and is a father.
If you or someone you know may be struggling with suicidal thoughts, you can call or text the U.S. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 988 any time day or night, or chat online at 988lifeline.org.