MIAMI — Officials in Miami gave an update Wednesday on the condition of the director of the Miami-Dade Police Department after he shot himself Sunday night near Tampa.
Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said Alfredo "Freddy" Ramirez is still hospitalized in stable condition after undergoing surgery Monday.
"We're optimistic that he will continue to recover swiftly surrounded by his family and his loved ones," Levine Cava said. "I am glad that we were able to be by his side in this time of darkness as together we hope to see some light."
Ramirez, 52, a 27-year Miami-Dade police veteran, was leading the largest law enforcement agency in the southeastern U.S., survived the self-inflicted gunshot wound.
"Freddy is the type of leader, the type of man who bears the burdens of those around him," Levine Cava said. "He carries the weight of this department, and he's always willing to take on more."
The mayor said she had a brief conversation with Ramirez before the shooting at about 8:30 p.m. Sunday.
Watch the full news conference below:
Levine Cava said that Ramirez told her before the shooting that there was some sort of "incident" at a Tampa hotel and that he had "made mistakes" and was "prepared to resign."
"He was very remorseful and I reassured him that we would talk the following morning," Levine Cava said. "He told me he was driving back to Miami at that time, and I told him we would talk the next day further."
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 a 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.
"This incident is also a tragic reminder of the critical role that mental health plays in our law enforcement officers' well-being," Levine Cava said.
The mayor also announced Wednesday the interim appointment of J.D. Patterson, the head of corrections and forensics, to the interim chief of public safety. She said in a memo to county commissions Monday that Deputy Director Stephanie V. Daniels would be filling in as interim director of the Miami-Dade Police Department.
"Law enforcement is a demanding and stressful career and occupation," Glass said earlier this week. "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."
In May, Ramirez 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.
A spokeswoman for Levine Cava told The Associated Press that the mayor traveled to Tampa after the shooting to "support Director Ramirez and his family."
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. 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.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement, or FDLE, is investigating the shooting with the Florida Highway Patrol.