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A contrite Miami-Dade Police Director Freddy Ramirez, in a desperate  phone call to the mayor, offered to resign shortly before turning his gun himself.

Ramirez informed Mayor Daniella Levine Cava of a domestic dispute with his wife at Tampa hotel where police had to be called.

“He was very remorseful and I reassured him that we would talk the other morning,” said Levine Cava. 

Levine Cava held the news conference Wednesday to reassure the public the “continuity of public safety leadership.” Instead, most of her comments – which were almost a whisper – were about Ramirez’s service and the mental health crisis and that phone call.

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Ramirez was in Tampa to attend the 2023 Florida Sheriffs Association summer conference. There – according to news reports – Ramirez had been seen putting his gun in his mouth. He was also reportedly seen with his hands around his wife’s throat.

Tampa police showed up around 6:30 p.m. but Ramirez told officers the couple was only arguing, and he  denied threatening to harm himself. The arguments were so disruptive, though, that the Marriott Water Street hotel staff asked the couple to leave.

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It was on Interstate 75 around 8:30 p.m. that Ramirez – on his way back to Miami-Dade – called Levine Cava.

Ramirez told her, she said, “There was an incident at the hotel in Tampa and that he had made mistakes.”

Levine Cava said, “He told me he was driving back to Miami at that time.”

Ramirez remains at Tampa General Hospital, recovering from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head following surgery.

The mayor appointed Ramirez in 2020 to oversee the Miami-Dade police department. She added responsibilities of fire-rescue and emergency management last year.

Ramirez was running for sheriff after voters made his position an elected officer.

“He’s now alert, awake and responsive,” Levine Cava said.  “We’re optimistic that he will continue to recover swiftly surrounded by his family and loved ones.”

Levine Cava appointed Stephanie Daniels as interim director for the Miami Dade Police Department. J.D. Patterson, just appointed as chief of corrections and forensics, will oversee fire-rescue, emergency management and other departments.

Oliver G. Gilbert III, chairman of the Miami-Dade County Commission, said Ramirez’s suicide attempt had reverberated throughout the department and the county.

“This is sad because Chief Ramirez wasn’t just a colleague but a friend. He is part of a greater family, a greater community,” he said. 

Levine Cava, who drove to Tampa, said she visited with Ramirez’s family but did not talk to him.

“Nothing matters right now more than for Chief Ramirez’s health and the well-being of his family,” she said. 

John Pacenti

JOHN PACENTI is a correspondent of the Key Biscayne Independent. John has worked for The Associated Press, the Palm Beach Post, Daily Business Review, and WPTV-TV.

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JOHN PACENTI is a correspondent of the Key Biscayne Independent. John has worked for The Associated Press, the Palm Beach Post, Daily Business Review, and WPTV-TV.