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Miami police director recovering from self-inflicted gunshot wound

Police say a domestic violence incident was under investigation before the director is said to have shot himself later in the day.
Miami police director recovering from self-inflicted gunshot wound
Posted at 7:49 PM, Jul 24, 2023

Alfredo "Freddy" Ramirez III, the director of the Miami-Dade Police Department, was critically injured in Tampa on Sunday night according to a statement from police. 

During a press conference Monday afternoon, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement said preliminary details pointed to a self-inflicted gunshot wound with serious head injuries.

Miami-Dade Police said Monday morning that Ramirez underwent surgery. They later issued another statement that said Ramirez was in critical but stable condition. 

Police said the Florida Highway Patrol and Florida Department of Law Enforcement are investigating. 

FDLE Commissioner Mark Glass told reporters they believe this began as a domestic violence incident.

"Tampa PD was called to the Tampa waterside Marriott about a possible domestic dispute involving Director Ramirez, who was in town for a conference," said Commissioner Glass.

Tampa Police say responding officers were given third-hand information. That information alleges a man had pointed a gun at himself. However, there is no security footage nor first-hand accounts to support that information.  At 6:50 p.m., officers went to Director Ramirez's hotel room, where he and a woman were located.   

TPD says Ramirez told them he and the woman had been arguing, but denied pulling out his gun during the argument. The release says he had no intention to harm himself or others. The woman said she didn't fear for her safety. 

The female corroborated that they had an argument and that she did not have any concerns about her safety being in danger.  There was no evidence of a crime or immediate danger. Ramirez was released at the scene.

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"No arrests were made and Director Ramirez left the hotel traveling on Interstate 75. Shortly thereafter, he pulled off to the side of the road around marker 244. A preliminary investigation shows Director Ramirez suffered from a self inflicted gunshot wound. Director Ramirez suffered serious head injuries," said Commissioner Glass. 

FDLE said no one else was injured in the incident.

Director Ramirez was in Tampa for the Florida Sheriffs Association's Summer Conference. The conference is taking place at the JW Marriott Hotel, where police questioned Ramirez.

Florida Association of Sheriffs President, Sheriff Al Nienhuis says it's been hard getting through the conference knowing one of their own is in the hospital.

"We want to give our heartfelt sympathy to the men and women of the Miami-Dade Police Department, as well as the entire community, but especially Director Ramirez. His family, we know they're going through a tremendous amount and we certainly respect their privacy and are here to give them any support whatsoever that we possibly can. Our brothers and sisters in law enforcement, when they're suffering, we all suffer," Sheriff Nienhuis said.

Sheriffs and other law enforcement officials will be in Tampa for the conference until July 26th.

"It was obviously something that did unfold, and there was a lot of getting together, trying to figure out what occurred and what we could do to help. That was obviously when we did find out that it was a critical incident. It hits home. And, you know, law enforcement professionals, all of them, including sheriffs, and directors, we all are human. And we deal with human issues. We can be crestfallen when something like this happens. We can put ourselves in the place of the family and co-workers. To say it's heart wrenching is an understatement," Neinhuis added.

Ramirez serves in a dual role in Miami-Dade as the director of the Police Department and the chief of safety and emergency response, according to an online biography. That means he's responsible for the oversights of both the police department and the fire rescue department.

"All that matters right now is his wellbeing and we continue to pray for his speedy recovery," Miami-Dade mayor Daniella Levine Cava said in a statement

Ramirez announced in May that he was running for sheriff in Miami-Dade. According to Florida Politics, Miami-Dade is the only county in the state without an elected sheriff after voters eliminated the position after a 1966 grand jury report revealed racketeering and bribery within the department.

According to the bio, Ramirez has worked in law enforcement for more than 27 years. He joined MDPD in 1995. 

This story was originally published by Emily McCain at Scripps News Tampa

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