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.
Police said at a news conference Wednesday that they don’t know a motive for the shooting.
“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.
The next day, the Red Sox sent a plane to have him flown to Boston, where he had a second surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital.
He was in guarded condition Thursday in the hospital’s intensive care unit, his wife said in a statement released by the Red Sox.
“He continues to heal and make progress,” Tiffany Ortiz said. “David will continue to recover in the ICU and future updates on his condition will be provided when necessary.”
The other person who was shot, Jhoel Lopez, is recovering, his wife has said.