SANTO DOMINGO — The suspects who ambushed former Boston Red Sox slugger David Ortiz at a nightclub in the Dominican Republic got paid $7,800 for the hit, authorities said. But who and why remain key questions in the shooting.
The suspects were offered 400,000 Dominican pesos — about $7,800 — to shoot Ortiz, Dominican National Police Director Ney Aldrin Bautista Almonte said.
Authorities have six people in custody, and one remained at large Wednesday, Bautista Almonte said.
Ortiz, 43, who is also known as Big Papi, was at a Santo Domingo nightclub Sunday night with television host Jhoel Lopez when they were both injured by gunfire.
A bullet struck Ortiz in the back and went through his stomach, police said. Both victims have been recovering.
Authorities have declined to discuss a possible motive.
“These individuals, each one of them, all of them, have been jailed and will go before a court,” Bautista Almonte said.
Suspected gunman is among those in custody, police say
Of the six suspects in custody, one — Rolfi Ferreira Cruz, 25 — is accused of shooting Ortiz and Lopez, Dominican authorities said Wednesday.
The arrests began Sunday night, starting with Eddy Vladimir Féliz Garcia, who is accused of driving the alleged shooter to the club on the back of a motorcycle.
Police said Féliz Garcia and the alleged gunman tried to leave on the motorcycle after the shooting, but it fell to the pavement. The alleged gunman fled, police said, but onlookers attacked Féliz Garcia and handed him over to authorities.
Bautista Almonte, the police director, said the arrests of Cruz and other suspects happened after investigators spoke with Féliz Garcia at a hospital.
Investigators found the firearm allegedly used in the shooting buried in the home of one of the suspects near the city of Mao, police said.
Féliz Garcia has been charged with being an accomplice to attempted murder.
Deivi Solano, one of his attorneys, said his client is a motorcycle taxi driver and may have unwittingly driven the shooter, but he did not shoot Ortiz.
A witness told police he saw Féliz García and the gunman get into a car parked near the scene of the shooting before gunfire erupted, the charging documents say.
It is unclear what charges each of the other suspects face, but investigators are treating the case as an attempted murder.
Big Papi recovers in Boston
Shortly after the shooting, Ortiz was rushed to a local hospital and treated for bleeding in his liver and having portions of his intestines and gallbladder removed, said Leo Lopez, his spokesman.
But the next day, the Red Sox sent a plane to have him flown to Boston.
He is in the intensive care unit at Massachusetts General Hospital after his second surgery, said his wife, Tiffany Ortiz.
“Yesterday and this morning, David was able to sit up as well as take some steps,” Tiffany Ortiz said Wednesday. “His condition is guarded and he will remain in the ICU for the coming days, but he is making good progress towards recovery.”
The other person who was shot, Jhoel Lopez, is recovering, his wife has said.