The Miami-Dade police chief and his wife argued before he shot himself, bodycam footage shows
Aug 3, 2023, 10:11 AM
(David Santiago/Miami Herald via AP, File)
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — Police officers responding to a report of someone with a gun threatening to “end it all” outside a downtown Florida hotel discovered the person in question was the director of the Miami-Dade police force.
Newly released bodycam footage provides a fresh look at the July 23 incident, which happened hours before Alfredo “Freddy” Ramirez stopped his vehicle, with his wife, Jody Ramirez, inside, along Interstate 75 south of Tampa and shot himself in the head.
Jody Ramirez frantically called 911, and the police chief was rushed to a Tampa hospital, where he remained in stable condition Thursday after surgery last week, news outlets reported. A person who answered the phone at the hospital on Thursday said the police director’s name was not on a list of registered patients. Messages seeking updates were left Thursday with police and at the office of Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava.
Tampa police were initially called around 6:30 p.m. that Sunday evening to a hotel where the Florida Sheriff’s annual conference was underway. Someone saw a man and woman arguing outside the hotel and called 911 after they said the man, later identified as 52-year-old Ramirez, pointed a gun to his head.
By the time police arrived, the couple had gone to their 12th floor room, hotel security told the officers, according to bodycam footage. The witnesses who reported the couple’s argument were no longer at the scene, and officers couldn’t find hotel security footage of the incident, according to the police report.
A swarm of officers then runs upstairs.
“Tampa Police! Tampa Police! Come out with your hands up. Hands up!” an officer says on the bodycam video.
A woman, later identified as Jody Ramirez, comes out of the room, followed by her husband, who “had to be told multiple times to show his hands,” according to the report.
Ramirez is then handcuffed, the video shows.
“What are you doing?” he asks the officers. “All right. You know, I’m the director of the Miami-Dade Police Department.”
The officers ask him for identification, which he says is in his wallet in the room. His gun, in its holster, is found under a chair.
Outside, officers continued talking to Ramirez, and separately, to his wife.
“Man, I didn’t do anything man, please,” Ramirez says. “… If you write a report, you guys are going to blow my ass up. I didn’t do anything, please.”
The officers ask if he displayed a gun during the talk with his wife.
“No, no, sir, OK? We had a discussion,” Ramirez says. He tells them the argument was about “marriage stuff,” and adds, “We’re good.”
Nearby, other officers question Jody Ramirez, asking if the argument got physical or whether her husband had pointed the gun at himself or at her. “Um, honestly, I can’t remember,” she says, adding that they had been drinking
She tells the officers they were “just having a heated conversation,” which she remarked wasn’t unusual after 30 years of marriage.
She also tells the officers that her husband always has his gun on him, “has plenty of demons from the job,” and has a temper. “He’s not making any threats, I promise you,” she says.
After questioning the couple, Alfredo Ramirez is uncuffed, and the couple leaves the hotel to return home to Miami, according to the police report. About 8:30 p.m., Ramirez calls his boss, Levine Cava, and offers his resignation.
“Freddy told me he had made a mistake, he was prepared to resign,” the mayor recounted during a July 26 news conference. She said Ramirez was “very remorseful” during their conversation, and that she told him to get home safely and they would discuss it the next day. Sometime after that, he shot himself, according to the police transcript.
Ramirez is a 27-year Miami-Dade police veteran and leads the largest law enforcement agency in the southeastern U.S. In May, he announced his intention to seek election next year to the newly created role of sheriff. It’s unclear if he will remain in the race. In the meantime, Levine Cava has appointed an interim police director.