Hillsborough County, FL – The director of the Miami-Dade Police Department (MDPD) shot himself in the head on an interstate south of Tampa after an argument with his wife at a nearby hotel on Sunday night, according to officials.
MDPD Director Alfredo “Freddy” Ramirez, 52, was in town for the four-day Sheriff’s Summer Conference, which was being held in downtown Tampa at the JW Marriot, according to WPLG.
Director Ramirez and his wife of 28 years, Jody, stepped outside the hotel at around 6:30 p.m. on July 23 and got into an argument, sources told the news outlet.
A witness called 911 after allegedly seeing the director placing a gun into his mouth during the verbal altercation, WPLG reported.
Tampa police said they responded to the scene and spoke with the couple on the 12th floor of the hotel about 20 minutes later.
They acknowledged they had gotten into an argument outside, but both denied the allegations Director Ramirez had displayed a gun or pointed it at himself, according to investigators.
The incident was not captured by the hotel’s security cameras and the anonymous witness left the area prior to officers’ arrival, WPLG reported.
“After additional questioning, Ramirez stated he had no intention to harm himself or others,” the Tampa Police Department (TPD) said, according to WPLG. “The known female corroborated that they had an argument and that she did not have any concerns about her safety being in danger.”
Sources said Director Ramirez and his wife were ultimately asked to leave the property, at which point they drove away together and headed down Interstate 75 back to Miami, CBS News reported.
When they reached the Riverview area, Director Ramirez allegedly pulled off of the interstate and shot himself in the head, according to investigators.
His wife then called 911, WPLG reported.
Sources said the bullet traveled through Director Ramirez’s right temple and exited his right eye.
He was immediately rushed to Tampa General Hospital, WPLG reported.
Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister said Director Ramirez has “a long road” and multiple surgeries ahead of him, but that he is expected to survive, according to NBC News.
The MDPD said the director was listed in “critical but stable condition” on Monday morning, WPLG reported.
“The entire Miami-Dade Police Department stands together behind Freddy and asks that our community continue to keep him in their prayers,” the department said. “Out of respect for his close family and friends, we ask for privacy at this difficult time.”
Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava traveled to Tampa to be with Director Ramirez and his family at the hospital in the wake of the incident, CBS News reported.
“Following a critical injury in Tampa yesterday, Chief Ramirez is hospitalized and in critical but stable condition,” Levine Cava said. “All that matters right now is Chief Ramirez’s wellbeing, and I join his family, his loved ones, and all his Miami-Dade Police Department and Miami-Dade County family in praying for his swift recovery.”
The Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) are handling the ongoing investigation into the incident.
Director Ramirez joined the MDPD in 1995 and was named police director in 2020, CBS News reported.
He recently announced his intention to run for Miami-Dade County sheriff next year, according to NBC News.
“An incident such as this is so deeply saddening, and I am praying and hoping for Chief Freddy Ramirez’ full recovery,” Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle told the news outlet. “We all know that we need many, many more individuals with the strength, courage and commitment he has exemplified throughout his career.”