Six people have been arrested in connection with the shooting of the former Boston Red Sox star David Ortiz — including one suspected of being the gunman — the authorities in the Dominican Republic said on Wednesday.
The six men, one of whom was detained immediately after the shooting on Sunday night, received 400,000 Dominican pesos, or about $7,800, to kill Ortiz, according to the director of the national police.
At a news conference Wednesday in Santo Domingo, the country’s top prosecutor said Rolfi Ferreira Cruz, Joel Rodríguez Cruz, Porfirio Ayendi Dechamps Vásquez, Reynaldo Rodríguez Valenzuela and Oliver Moisés Mirabel had been taken into custody. They joined Eddy Féliz García, who was apprehended Sunday night at the scene of the shooting, a bar in Santo Domingo, the country’s capital.
The authorities said Ferreira Cruz, whose aliases include Sandy, had confessed to shooting Ortiz. All the suspects are in their 20s, the authorities said.
Another suspect, identified as Luis Alfredo Clase, remained at large, said the prosecutor, Jean Alain Rodríguez. The authorities provided varying spellings of the suspects’ names during the news conference and in a news release.
The motive for the attack was still under investigation, and Rodríguez declined to identify who had ordered the attack on Ortiz, who is recovering in Boston after being transported from Santo Domingo on Monday.
“We’ll get to the bottom of all the details of this crime, and all those involved will have to face the weight of the law,” Rodríguez said in Spanish at the news conference.
The national police director, Ney Aldrin Bautista Almonte, displayed a gun that he said had been used in the shooting and had been buried at the home where two of the suspects were arrested.
The authorities said they had arrested Mirabal in Santiago, the country’s second-largest city, in the northern part of the island. The others were detained in Mao, west of Santiago.
The authorities said that security footage showed two of the suspects on motorcycles near the popular bar where Ortiz, 43, was shot on Sunday and that the two men had stopped to talk with other suspects in two other cars. García, they said, drove the motorcycle that carried the gunman to the scene of the shooting. García fell off the motorcycle as he tried to flee, and an angry group of people beat him severely before he was detained by the police.
García was charged as an accomplice to attempted murder. His lawyer told reporters that his client was a motorcycle-taxi driver who was unaware his passenger planned to commit a crime.
Ortiz was attacked at Dial Bar and Lounge, a regular hangout of his in the eastern part of Santo Domingo. Security footage of the shooting showed a man creeping up behind him and firing from close range. The bullet entered Ortiz’s back and exited his abdomen, seriously wounding him and causing him to slump over in his chair.
Ortiz’s gallbladder and part of his intestines were removed during an operation in Santo Domingo that lasted into Monday morning. His liver was also damaged.
Ortiz, who became one of baseball’s most beloved players by helping the Red Sox end their 86-year World Series drought with a victory in 2004, was taken by an air ambulance provided by the club to Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston on Monday afternoon. He had a second operation on Monday night and rested in the hospital’s intensive care unit. On Tuesday and Wednesday, he sat up and took some steps, according to statements from his wife that were released by the Red Sox.
“His condition is guarded and he will remain in the I.C.U. for the coming days, but he is making good progress towards recovery,” his wife, Tiffany Ortiz, said in a statement on Wednesday.
Ortiz’s big bat and big personality earned him much affection over a 20-year major league career. The left-handed slugger spent 14 seasons with the Red Sox, where he was a 10-time All-Star and three-time World Series champion. He retired after the 2016 season. He has raised millions of dollars through his foundation for children’s medical needs in New England and in the Dominican Republic.
Ortiz, who has three children, lives in Miami but often visits his native island, where his father and sister reside. He had recently returned to promote a new cigar brand and to work with a new charity, and to train with his son.
Ortiz was known to travel the sometimes dangerous streets of Santo Domingo, his hometown, with little or no security. The authorities said that Jhoel López, a local television host who is friends with Ortiz, had received a leg injury from the same bullet that struck Ortiz and that he was released from the hospital on Monday.
“It wasn’t a robbery,” Ortiz’s longtime assistant, Leo López, said earlier this week. “They didn’t ask for anything. It was a direct shot at David.”