Boston Red Sox legend David Ortiz was flown to a Boston hospital Monday night after being shot in the back while at a Dominican Republic bar, in what some now believe may have been a hired hit.
The retired slugger arrived in Boston shortly before 10 p.m. on a medical flight transporting him from the Dominican Republic, where he initially had surgery removing his gallbladder and part of his intestine shortly after the shooting.
Ortiz, 43, known by fans as “Big Papi” will now continue his medical treatment at Mass General.
"Our medical team here in Boston and the doctors in the Dominican Republic have confirmed that David’s condition is still serious, but that he is stable enough to be transported back here to Boston for continued care," Red Sox President Sam Kennedy said, according to WCVB.
Ortiz was shot Sunday night at the Dial Bar and Lounge in Santo Domingo as he sat at a table with friends. Authorities believe two men arrived on a motorcycle and approached the bar, where one of the men shot Ortiz at close range in the torso, The Boston Herald reports.
One of the men, identified as Eddy Vladimir Feliz Garcia, was beaten by a crowd of people at the bar and later apprehended, according to the Dominican Republic National Police. The second man reportedly fled on foot.
Some are now speculating that the attack may have been an attempted hired hit.
“There is not a single doubt that this was an act of hired killers,” Ortiz’s representative Leo Lopez said, according to Fox News.
Authorities in the Dominican Republic have not confirmed the motive in the shooting, however, one law enforcement source told The New York Post Monday that they believe a cop may have been hired as a hitman in the shooting.
“They’re definitely looking at a police officer in the shooting,” the source said.
Ortiz was one of three people wounded in the shooting. Dominican TV host Jhoel Lopez was also wounded by what police believe was the same bullet that struck Ortiz. The third person hurt was not identified by authorities.
Eliezer Salvador told Dominican radio station Zol 106.5 that he had just arrived at the scene minutes before the shot rang out.
“I heard the shot and I thought it was just fireworks. It didn’t sound like a shot, it sounded like something homemade. There was a lot of smoke and the fire alarm went off and the shooter didn’t shoot again, it was just one single shot,” he said.
Salvador drove Ortiz to the hospital in his vehicle parked nearby.
“I was driving fast. He said ‘I’m having trouble breathing’ and I said that’s normal,” Salvador said in an interview with WBZ-TV.
At a press conference Monday, Dr. Abel Gonzalez told the media that Ortiz, a father of three, had been rushed to surgery where his gallbladder and a portion of his intestines were removed.
“He tolerated the surgery without any complications, his blood pressure was good, he went to intensive care where he remained stable,” Gonzales said. “When he opened his eyes, the first thing he asked for was his family and he was in a good mood.”
His family, including wife Tiffany, are now reportedly with the star.
Kennedy said the shooting of the beloved Red Sox has left the team “shocked” to its core.
“David Ortiz is probably the most beloved and one of the most important players in our history,” Kennedy said, according to The Post. “I’d be hard-pressed to think of anyone more beloved than David.”
Ortiz played with the Red Sox for 14 of his 20 seasons in the major leagues and helped the team win three World Series titles.
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