The chief of public safety for Miami-Dade County, Fla., was seriously wounded late on Sunday and was hospitalized in Tampa, the mayor of the county said on Monday. The injury was caused by a self-inflicted gunshot, according to two people with knowledge of what happened.
Alfredo Ramirez III, who serves in a dual role as public safety chief and as the director of the Miami-Dade Police Department, the largest police department in the Southeast, was in “critical but stable condition” on Monday, Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said in a statement. Her office said that she traveled to Tampa overnight to to be with the chief’s family.
“All that matters right now is Chief Ramirez’s well-being,” Ms. Levine Cava said, “and I join his family, his loved ones, and all of his Miami-Dade Police Department and Miami-Dade County family in praying for his swift recovery.”
Chief Ramirez, 52, who is known as Freddy, suffered the injury on Interstate 75 south of Tampa, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, which is investigating the incident along with the Florida Highway Patrol. No one else was injured, the F.D.L.E. said in a statement.
Chief Ramirez was attending a summer conference of the Florida Sheriffs Association, which began in Tampa on Sunday. The Tampa Police Department said Monday afternoon that officers had responded to a report just after 6:30 p.m. Sunday of a man with a gun outside the downtown Marriott hotel where the sheriffs were meeting.
Officers “were provided thirdhand information alleging a male had pointed a gun at himself,” the department said in a statement.
The man was identified as Chief Ramirez. Officers went to the chief’s 12th-floor hotel room, where he told them he had been involved in an argument with a woman but “had not displayed a firearm,” the statement by the Tampa police said. “After additional questioning, Ramirez stated he had no intention to harm himself or others.”
The statement said the woman who had argued with Chief Ramirez also told the officers that “she did not have any concerns about her safety being in danger.” The Tampa police did not name the woman in the statement.
One of the people with knowledge of the incident confirmed reports by The Miami Herald, CBS Miami, NBC Miami and WPLG Local 10, an ABC News affiliate in Miami, that the chief was attending the conference in Tampa with his wife.
Chief Ramirez’s position as director of the Miami-Dade Police is appointed; he was selected for the job by Ms. Levine Cava in January 2020. The department has more than 4,700 employees and an operating budget of more than $850 million.
Following next year’s elections, the job will change to become an independently elected sheriff’s position, as it is in Florida’s other 66 counties. Chief Ramirez filed paperwork in May to run for sheriff as a Democrat.
He has spent more than 25 years with the department, according to his official biography.
If you are having thoughts of suicide, call or text 988 to reach the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline or go to SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources for a list of additional resources.
Kitty Bennett contributed research.