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Freddy Ramirez, Miami-Dade police director, won't run for sheriff in 2024, his campaign says

Freddy Ramirez drops out of 2024 race for Miami-Dade sheriff
Freddy Ramirez drops out of 2024 race for Miami-Dade sheriff 02:56

MIAMI -- Miami-Dade Police Director Freddy Ramirez announced Wednesday that he is dropping out of the race for sheriff nearly two months after he attempted to take his own life while in Tampa.

Freddy Ramirez

In a written statement, Ramirez said he will no longer seek the elected office.

"Earlier this year, I filed to run for sheriff to support and guide a successful transition to a sheriff's office and ensure the mission and work ethic of the department was unchanged," he said in the statement. "That commitment and mission is stronger than ever- and while I will not be a candidate for Sheriff in 2024, I look forward to working with the Mayor and stakeholders on a successful and smooth transition that puts public safety at the forefront of every decision."

The stunning decision comes nearly two months after Ramirez, 52, was critically injured after he shot himself during an apparent suicide attempt after traveling to Tampa for a law enforcement conference, authorities and sources said.

Ramirez was in his car with his wife when he pulled over by the side of the road along Interstate 75 and shot himself as the couple was returning home, according to two law enforcement sources.

He was taken to Tampa General Hospital where he underwent surgery but remained hospitalized in a Hillsborough County for weeks only returning to South Florida within the past week or so.

Ramirez and his wife Jody released a joint statement late last week in an attempt to address the rumors and speculation that resulted from the incident.

"Jody and Freddy Ramirez want to express their deepest and heartfelt appreciation to the many who have sent messages of support and best wishes for Freddy's speedy recovery," the statement said. "This outpouring of care and concern has meant everything to their family at this difficult time and continues to contribute to Freddy's healing."

Freddy Ramirez enters political fray for Miami-Dade sheriff

Freddy Ramirez announced last year that he would run for the Miami-Dade County sheriff's post 

"I'm running for Miami-Dade County sheriff because keeping our neighborhoods safe and having the trust of our community is deeply personal for me," Ramirez said in a statement released in May 2023. "As a husband and father, making sure our streets are safe has been my life's mission - so our seniors, children, and all families know they have trusted law enforcement looking out for them."

On May 19th as Ramirez announced he was running for Sheriff, he told CBS News MIami's Peter D'Oench he was eager to become Sheriff. 

"I am on a mission to become sheriff," he said at the time. "This is not about me or my title. This is a duty and part of protecting the legacy of the police department. It is about protecting our community and protecting the trust and making sure that no one is left behind." 

Ramirez, a Republican at the time, was appointed to the Miami-Dade County police director post in 2020 by then-Mayor Carlos Gimenez.

In 2022, Ramirez was appointed to oversee the county's police department as director and fire rescue by current Mayor Daniella Levine Cava, a Democrat who later made the appointment permanent. Ramirez would later switch his political affiliation and become a Democrat as well.

Ramirez began working for Miami-Dade police in 1995, working his way up the ranks and assuming the top job years later.

Who else is running for Miami-Dade sheriff in 2024?

Reaction to Freddy Ramirez decision came as a political earthquake that is likely to scramble the race.

Christian Ulvert, campaign director for Ramirez, said: "Freddy came to this decision with a full open heart and love for his family, the community and the police department. What's important is that his recovery stay the main focus. What's most important is his recovery and putting his family first and the strength of the department at the forefront. What's important is that his medical team says he is on a path to a full recovery. He has been a leader for two decades and rose up through the rank and he will continue to be an important voice as we transition from an appointed Director to an elected Sheriff."

A spokeswoman for Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said that she and Ramirez would be meeting to talk about his recovery and his service and said it would be up to health care professionals to determine when he could return to work.

And although he has decided to not seek the post, his primary job remains as the police director.

CBS News Miami reporter Peter D'Oench contributed to this report.

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