Miami-Dade Police Department Director Alfredo “Freddy” Ramirez III critically injured himself in Riverview on Sunday while trying to take his own life after a domestic dispute at a Tampa hotel, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office confirmed Monday.
Sgt. Steve Gaskins, a spokesperson for the Florida Highway Patrol, said the incident occurred Sunday night on Interstate 75 south of Tampa. No one else was injured.
Troopers and Florida Department of Law Enforcement agents were on the scene and are conducting interviews as part of a joint investigation Monday, the FDLE said.
During a news conference Monday afternoon in Tampa, FDLE Commissioner Mark Glass confirmed that the preliminary investigation shows Ramirez suffered from a self-inflicted gunshot. The 52-year-old man suffered serious head injuries and was in critical but stable condition, Glass said.
Ramirez was in Tampa attending the Sheriff’s Summer Conference, the largest event for the Florida Sheriffs Association, officials said. The conference began Sunday and runs through Wednesday, according to the association’s website.
The Tampa Police Department said in a news release Monday that officers had responded to a domestic call involving Ramirez and a woman at the JW Marriott Tampa Water Street hotel earlier Sunday evening.
Officers responded around 6:30 p.m. Sunday to a report of a man with a gun outside the JW Marriott at 510 Water St., where the conference is being held. Officers were given “third-hand” information that the man, later confirmed to be Ramirez, had pointed a gun at himself, the release said.
Hotel security told police the man was on the 12th floor. There were no first-hand witnesses or security camera footage capturing the alleged incident, according to the release. About 20 minutes later, officers arrived outside the 12th-floor room.
A woman came out of the room followed by Ramirez, who told police he was involved in an argument with the woman but had not displayed a gun. Ramirez told police he had no intention to harm himself or others. The woman corroborated that they had an argument and that she did not have any concerns about her safety, police said.
There was no evidence of a crime or immediate danger, so Ramirez was released at the scene, police said.
The news release did not identify the woman.
Ramirez left the hotel driving on Interstate 75, Glass said. He pulled over around mile marker 244.
Michael Lewis, an elected sheriff from Maryland who attended the Florida event, said Monday he had heard that a “heated discussion” between Ramirez and his wife outside the hotel had drawn Tampa police to the event during a Sunday evening reception for attendees.
Lewis did not witness any altercation himself but said he was told the couple had denied anything happened requiring police attention. The responding officers left, he said, but hotel staff at the JW Marriott in downtown Tampa asked the couple to leave the premises.
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“We’re completely shocked. I’ve been in law enforcement 39 years and I’ve never heard of anything like this remotely occurring,” said Lewis, the Wicomico County sheriff.
When asked about Ramirez’s wife, Special Agent Mark Brutnell of the FDLE said, “She’s doing the best she can under these unimaginable circumstances.”
“All that matters right now is Chief Ramirez’s wellbeing, and I join his family, his loved ones, and his Miami-Dade Police Department and Miami-Dade County family in praying for his swift recovery,” Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said in a statement.
“Director Ramirez has dedicated nearly 30 years of his life to public service and keeping the citizens of Miami-Dade safe,” Glass said. “Today is a tragic day in Florida, and the law enforcement community stands for Director Ramirez and his family during this difficult time.”
In May, Ramirez announced he was running for sheriff in 2024 as a Democrat. According to Miami-Dade County’s website, Ramirez joined Miami-Dade police in 1995. He became director of the department in 2020 and also serves as the chief of safety and emergency response, the website said.
Information from the Miami Herald was used in this report.
If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide, call or text 988 to reach the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline or chat with someone online at 988lifeline.org.
This is a developing story that will be updated.