Related video above: Freddy Ramirez suffered a self-inflicted gunshot wound in Tampa in July.
TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Now-former Miami-Dade Police Director Alfredo “Freddy” Ramirez is speaking out for the first time, months after he tried to take his own life.
Ramirez spoke exclusively with NBC Miami about the incident and his recovery process.
As previously reported, Ramirez was hospitalized for a self-inflicted gunshot wound following a incident at a hotel in Tampa in July. Ramirez was in Tampa for the 2023 Florida Sheriffs Association’s Summer Conference.
Authorities said local police were called to the Marriott Waterside Hotel following a report of a man pointing a gun at himself.
They questioned Ramirez, but he was allowed to leave after police determined he wasn’t a danger to himself or anyone else. He then left the hotel and shot himself in the head along Interstate 75 in Riverview, officials said.
“My memory is still a little shadowy in terms of that day,” Ramirez told NBC Miami. “But I do remember having a great day, even the day before, my wife and I came up the day earlier, we were going to the sheriff’s conference. We were having a great day. And then, you know, things started to happen.”
He thanked his wife, Jody, for saving his life.
“We are a strong family and we’re persevering as one through this,” he said. “That’s why I’m here today. Jody saved my life. And my kids are my life, my whole family, she and them. And that’s what keeps me going.”
Ramirez said he neglected his own mental wellness and that all the stress of the job caught up to him.
“I used to tell people jokingly, ‘Oh, I’ll pay for it later,'” he said. “Like all the pressures and things like that. I’ll pay for it later. Well, the bill came sooner than I expected, unexpectedly.”
Ramirez lost his right eye, and showed his wound to NBC Miami. He said he previously dealt with his stress in other ways, but is now in therapy, according to the station.
“It humbled me, and I consider myself a humble person,” Ramirez told the station. “But this really did knock down the invincibility.”
Ramirez said he can be trusted again with a gun.
“I learned from that moment,” he told NBC Miami. “I don’t know what my intention was at that moment. But I could tell you, I would never want to put my family or anyone through that again.”
“What reminds me, and I always tell people when they ask me, is that when I wake up in the morning, this reminds me,” he said while pointing to his wound.
After he is medically cleared, Ramirez will begin his new role as Senior Advisor for Policing and Transition on Jan. 23, 2024. He has spent more than 25 years with the department.
Ramirez was also a candidate for Miami-Dade sheriff, but dropped out of the race in September.