What's Come Out About David Ortiz's Shooting

According to The Washington Post, former Boston Red Sox star David "Big Papi" Ortiz was shot in the back in "an ambush-style attack" at near point-blank range in the Dominican Republic. The three-time World Series champion and ten-time All-Star suffered multiple internal injuries at his hometown's Dial Bar and Lounge at around 8.50 p.m on June 9, 2019 in Santo Domingo. Surveillance footage, provided by The Blast, shows the shooter jumping off the back of a motorcycle and opening fire as the 43-year-old slugger ate dinner.

Not only is Ortiz a former Red Sox player, he is a living legend and cultural icon in Boston. In addition to helping the team break its World Series' curse, Ortiz became a source of inspiration for his adopted city in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings with an emotional speech to the Fenway crowd: "This is our f*****g city, and nobody's going to dictate our freedom. Stay strong." In the wake of the shooting, former President Barack Obama had this to say: "One of my proudest moments as president was watching Boston respond after the marathon (attack) and when Ortiz went out and said, probably the only time that America didn't have a problem with cursing on live TV, when he talked about how strong Boston was and was not going to be intimidated."

We can all assume Ortiz won't be intimidated now either. Here's what's come out about David Ortiz's shooting.

A suspect was attacked by a crowd

ESPN reported that Dominican National Police spokesperson Col. Frank Duran Mejia identified the suspect Eddy Feliz Garcia, a 25-year-old who allegedly drove the shooter to the scene. He was easily identified because he was captured and brutally beaten by the crowd in the area of the incident. Garcia reportedly suffered "a cranium contusion and trauma to his thorax, left knee and right leg" (WARNING: This is a graphic photo of Garcia's injuries and video of the attack). At the time of this writing, Garcia remains in police custody for further questioning. According to the New York Daily News, a second suspect, the presumed shooter, was still at large at the time of Garcia's arrest (but more on that momentarily).

It shouldn't come as a shock that bystanders attacked Garcia. "It's difficult to overstate how revered David Ortiz is in the Dominican Republic. Put it this way: He may well be the most beloved athlete in Boston sports history ... and he's even bigger in the D.R. In the baseball-mad country, he may be held in higher regard than anyone," said ESPN'Jeff Passan.

The attack may have been a hit

Following initial reports that David Ortiz was a victim of a robbery attempt, authorities now believe the shooting was an orchestrated hit. Law enforcement is also trying to figure out if Ortiz was the intended target. "Police in the Dominican Republic are saying the gunshot wound suffered by David Ortiz was not from an attempted robbery, as initially speculated. Alleged video of the incident shows a man walking up to a bar, aiming almost point blank and firing a gun," tweeted ESPN's Jeff Passan.

"We're not ruling out any scenario. What we can rule out is that this wasn't a robbery," national police spokesperson Frank Felix Duran told CBS News. The gunman reportedly did not speak when firing the weapon. According to Dominican National Police Director Ney Aldrin Bautista Almonte, a Dominican television host named Jhoel López was hit as well, reportedly by the same bullet. Ortiz was also reportedly out with Dominican singer Secreto. At the time of this writing, there's no official word about who the intended target was or what the motive may be. 

Surgery was successful, but he's not out of the woods

David Ortiz's media assistant, Leon Lopez, told ESPN that "the operation lasted six hours" and doctors "had to remove part of Ortiz's intestines and colon, as well as his gallbladder." The future Hall of Famer also suffered liver damage. "Doctors say he is out of danger, but he is heavily sedated and will be in intensive care for the next 24 hours," Lopez told ESPN. "Big Papi will be around for a long time.” Ortiz's father, Leo Ortiz, echoed that prognosis: "What they have told me post-op is that the doctors believe he will recover quickly." According to the Daily Mail, Ortiz told doctors: "Please don't let me die, I'm a good man," before being rushed into surgery at the Abel Gonzalez Clinic.

However, two Massachusetts trauma surgeons claim Ortiz's injuries could be life-threatening. "All gunshot wounds can be severe, especially gunshots to the abdomen," Dr. Peter A. Burke of Boston Medical Center told the Boston Globe. "A lot of organs were injured." Burke added: "The fact that he survived so far is good. The downstream consequences will take time to play out. He's made the first hurdle — he didn't die." Dr. Horacio M. Hojman, chief of trauma surgery at Tufts Medical Center, is reportedly concerned about the risk of infection caused by the damage to Ortiz's colon. "We will not know probably for a week or two which way things go," he said.

Authorities believe a drug lord was involved

According to the Daily Mail, authorities in the Dominican Republic allegedly believe a drug lord hired two cops to shoot David Ortiz because the dealer believed the baseball legend was having an affair with his wife. While "law enforcement sources confirmed the motive on Monday," Ortiz's camp "denied that the shooting had anything to do with a woman but said it was the act of 'hired' killers," reported the Daily Mail. "If we had known that there was a dangerous situation, he would not have been there at that moment,' the baseball star's rep, Leo Lopez, reportedly told Diario Libre (via the Daily Mail).

A spokesperson for the National Police in Santo Domingo said authorities are trying to keep what they know under wraps as the investigation continues. "Social media networks are speculating many things. We cannot give you more details," the spokesperson said. 

Authorities confirm he wasn't the intended target

According to the Attorney General of the Dominican Republic Jean Alain Rodriguez, Ortiz was shot after the hitmen mixed up him and his friend, David Fernandez (via the New York Post). Cartel member Victor Hugo Gomez Vasquez allegedly paid $8,000 to take out Fernandez because he "believed Fernandez had been snitching on him to US authorities."

"The last time we located Victor Hugo Gomez was in the United States and we believe that from there he planned the whole operation to attack the life of David Fernandez," Rodriguez said. "I will not rest until all the people involved are arrested." 

Nine people were arrested and charged with attempted murder in connection with the shooting with a tenth still at large. One of those arrested in the Dominican Republic, the alleged shooter, Rolfi Ferreira Cruz, is also currently wanted in New Jersey for two armed robberies in 2017, according to CNN. Prosecutors stated they will "seek a year of preventive detention" for the ten arrested.

He's being 'guarded' in ICU

The New York Times reported that Ortiz is in "guarded condition" in the surgical intensive care unit at Massachusetts General Hospital. "He continues to heal and make progress. David will continue to recover in the ICU and future updates on his condition will be provided when necessary," his wife, Tiffany Ortiz said in a statement.

Ortiz is reportedly on the mend according to his former team. "This morning, David's condition was upgraded to 'good' by his doctors and he continues to make progress with his recovery in the Intensive Care Unit at Massachusetts General Hospital," the Boston Red Sox said in a statement (via TMZ). "We remain grateful to everyone who has helped David through this ordeal, both in the Dominican Republic and here in Boston." The statement continued: "David's journey to good health has been bolstered by the many expressions of love that have come to us from across the globe. Your support has lifted his spirits tremendously during this challenging time."