Hours before Miami-Dade Police Director Alfredo “Freddy” Ramirez attempted suicide last week, he was confronted and handcuffed by police officers at a hotel following reports of a man threatening self-harm.
Ramirez, however, was ultimately released after telling officers he had no plans to harm himself or anyone else.
Tampa police released new files, including body camera video, Wednesday that provide a fuller account of Ramirez's day on July 23, when he shot himself on Interstate 75 following an argument with his wife.
Ramirez had been attending the Florida Sheriffs Association’s annual summer conference at a Marriott hotel in Tampa when an unknown witness reported seeing a man arguing with his wife and pulling a gun out.
The reports released Wednesday said a witness allegedly saw a man put a gun to his head or in his mouth while threatening, “I’m going to end it all today.” However, the reports said the witness could not be located when officers arrived.
'You know I’m the director of the Miami-Dade Police Department'
Tampa police responded to the hotel just after 6:30 p.m. Officers were met by hotel security, who said a witness flagged down "sheriffs" who were at the hotel for the conference about a man with a gun.
Body camera video shows the moment several Tampa police officers responded to Ramirez's 12th floor room, with the officer closest to the door seen holding a ballistic shield.
A “verbal argument could be heard in the hallway between an unknown male and female but no specific threats were heard by officers,” the police report said.
The officers ordered the pair to step out of the room, and Jody Ramirez exited first. She followed orders to raise her hands and was moved away to be interviewed by officers.
Ramirez then exited and was repeatedly ordered to raise his hands because he kept them around his waistline, according to the police report.
“What are you doing?” Ramirez exclaimed when an officer moved to handcuff him. “You know I’m the director of the Miami-Dade Police Department.”
An officer is heard responding, “I have no idea what’s happening, bro.”
“No, who called the cops?” Ramirez replied. “I didn’t do anything, I don’t understand.”
Officers asked Ramirez what he and his wife were arguing about and asked questions about his mental state.
“We were just talking. That’s it. Just talking,” he said. “Nothing, just talking about marriage stuff. We’re good.”
His wife separately told officers they were arguing about “stuff that’s going on at home” and that she and her husband knew how to “push each other’s buttons.”
She told officers that she had been drinking earlier in the day, which she doesn't usually do, and she and her husband started to argue outside the hotel and continued their discussion in their hotel room.
Ramirez said nothing happened involving his duty gun. When asked if he wanted to harm anyone or harm himself, he replied repeatedly, "No, sir."
His wife told officers initially she couldn't remember if he pointed the gun at anyone, but later repeatedly said that he did not. She stressed that she felt safe and that he had not threatened her in any way.
When asked about her husband's mindset, she said: “He has plenty of demons from the job, as you guys all are probably aware of.”
“I know every button to push and I’m pushing them today because I normally don’t drink. He got me on Old Fashions (an alcoholic beverage), it’s his fault,” she added, according to the police report.
There were no firsthand witnesses or security camera footage capturing the alleged gun incident, police said, and Ramirez was ultimately released.
'He just went out into traffic'
About three hours after the hotel interaction, Jody Ramirez called 911 from the I-75 highway in Tampa screaming for help.
The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office on Wednesday released audio from that frantic six-minute 911 call, in which she can be heard screaming, “Oh, my God, help me! Help me, help me, help me!”
She called 911 at 9:16 p.m. near mile marker 244 along the highway.
Some of the call is redacted, but in portions she is heard yelling, "Please stop fighting me, please stop fighting me, please help me."
Jody Ramirez tells dispatch that her husband is awake and then she screams and said, "He just went out into traffic."
The dispatcher warned her not to run after him and she yelled back, “No, I need your help and I need it now!”
She later said her husband was in the grass on the side of the road and reported that the gun was on the console in the car.
The dispatcher then tries to guide her on treating Ramirez, saying to lay him on his back and to find a dry cloth or towel to put on the wound to control the bleeding. She replied, "He's not letting me!"
"Please I am safe, he needs help!" she pleaded.
The call ended when a deputy arrived on the scene. Ramirez was rushed to a local hospital and underwent surgery.
'He told me he had made a mistake, that he was prepared to resign'
The Miami-Dade Police Department, which Ramirez joined in 1995, said Friday: "Director Ramirez continues to have a strong and positive recovery, surrounded by his family, and loved ones."
Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said in a news conference on July 26 that Ramirez had offered his resignation shortly before he injured himself.
She said they spoke on the phone at about 8:30 p.m. Sunday and he told her that “there was an incident at the hotel in Tampa and that he had made mistakes, and he was remorseful, and he was going back to Miami, and we would talk about it more the next day,” she said.
“He told me he had made a mistake, that he was prepared to resign,” she added.
She cited the critical role that mental health plays in law enforcement, calling the job “very demanding” and “emotionally taxing.”
She noted that last year one of his officers was fatally shot in the line of duty. “Freddy is the type of leader, the type of man who bears the burdens of those around him,” she said.
Ramirez is a prominent figure in Florida law enforcement with over 25 years on the job. He was appointed director in January 2020 and had announced his candidacy for sheriff of Miami-Dade County.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the Florida Highway Patrol have launched a joint investigation into the gun incident.
If you or someone you know is in crisis, call 988 to reach the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline. You can also call the network, previously known as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, at 800-273-8255, text HOME to 741741 or visit SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources for additional resources.