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Two Suspects In David Ortiz Shooting May Be Linked To Other Crimes In New Jersey And Pennsylvania
Dominican authorities have arrested six men in connection with the shooting of the baseball legend, including the alleged gunman, and continue to search for four more men at large.
Two of the suspects in the shooting of former Boston Red Sox star David Ortiz may also be linked to other crimes, including conspiracy to commit homicide, in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
Dominican authorities announced the arrest of the alleged gunman along with five other accomplices in the shooting Wednesday, saying the coordinator of the attack was offered just 400,000 Dominican pesos or about $7,800 to orchestrate the shooting, according to The Associated Press.
Four other suspects also remain at large and are being pursued by authorities as Ortiz continues to recover at a Boston hospital after the Sunday night attack.
Authorities have not released a motive in the shooting or identified who allegedly paid the men to carry out the attempted hit.
As more details emerge about the group of young men who are believed to be responsible for the shooting, authorities believe two of the suspects are also wanted for crimes committed in the United States.
The alleged shooter in the Ortiz case, Rolfi Ferreira-Cruz, 25, may also be wanted in New Jersey for two street robberies committed in 2017, NJ.com reports.
Clifton Police had announced in 2018 that they were searching for a man by the same name who is accused of holding up two men in less than two hours on Dec. 22, 2017.
According to Clifton Police Det. Lt. Robert Bracken, “everything is pointing to it being the same guy,” although New Jersey police have not been able to confirm that without having Ferreira-Cruz’s biographical information.
Ferreira-Cruz is now in custody overseas after the National Police of the Dominican Republic said he “admitted that he was the person who fired at former baseball player David Ortiz,” according to statement.
Ortiz was shot Sunday night while at a Dial Bar and Lounge in Santo Domingo. He had been talking with friends when a gunman approached and shot him at close range in the back.
The gun reportedly used in the shooting, a Browning Hi Power semi-automatic pistol, was later found by authorities at another suspect’s home.
Dominican officials now believe the attack on Ortiz was a coordinated effort, carried out by two men arriving on a motorcycle and two other groups of men traveling by car.
In addition to Ferreira-Cruz, authorities have also arrested Joel Rodriguez de la Cruz, Reynaldo Rodriguez Valenzuela and Eddy Vladimir Feliz Garcia.
“At this moment, they are being interrogated and we will continue deepening the investigation to get to the truth about what happened,” Chief Prosecutor Jean Alain Rodriguez said.
Rodriguez went on to add that “nobody involved in this unfortunate episode will escape justice.”
Authorities said they are continuing to search for four other suspects wanted in connection to the shooting, including Luis Rivas-Clase, 31, who prosecutors say is also known as “The Surgeon.”
Rivas-Clase is also wanted for plotting to kill another man in Pennsylvania in a crime eerily similar to the attack on Ortiz, according to Philadelphia station WCAU.
In that April 2018 incident, police say a man was shot in the lower back, but survived his injuries. Rivas-Clase has been charged with conspiracy to commit homicide in that shooting.
As authorities make progress in the case in the Dominican Republic, Ortiz continues to make progress in his recovery.
“His condition is guarded, and he will remain in the ICU for the coming days, but he is making good progress toward recovery,” his wife Tiffany Ortiz said in a statement.
Ortiz played for 20 seasons in the major leagues—spending 14 seasons with the Boston Red Sox where he helped lead the team to three World Series titles.
He is a beloved figure, affectionately known by his fans as “Big Papi,” in the United States and the Dominican Republic, his home country.
“We recognize the symbolism that David Ortiz represents, and we promise that this case will be cleared up completely,” national police director Maj. Gen. Ney Aldrin Bautista Almonte said.