Details Released On Murder Plot Of Red Sox's 'Big Papi' After He's Shot
Santo Domino, Dominican Republic – Investigators have discovered a “sophisticated” plot to murder former Boston Red Sox All-Star David Ortiz but said they still have no motive for shooting (video below).
Ortiz was hanging out with urban singer Secreto and Dominican TV host Jhoel López at the Dial Bar and Lounge at about 8:50 p.m. on June 9 when he was ambushed by a gunman from behind, CBS News reported.
The incident was captured by the bar’s surveillance cameras.
The shooter got off a motorcycle and shot Ortiz in the back at point-blank range, according to ESPN.
Ortiz was transported to the hospital and rushed into surgery.
“Please don’t let me die. I’m a good man,” the famous ball player told his doctor when he arrived at the hospital, ESPN reported.
Three surgeons operated on Ortiz for six hours and they had to remove part of his intestines and colon and his gallbladder.
He also suffered liver damage, ESPN reported.
"Doctors say that David is out of danger, thank God," Ortiz's father, Leo Ortiz, said. "What they have told me post-op is that the doctors believe he will recover quickly."
As soon as the famous baseball player’s condition stabilized, he was transported by hospital plane to Boston, where he remains in the hospital in critical condition.
Initially, authorities thought the actual target of the shooting was one of the friends sitting with the beloved baseball player known as “Big Papi,” CBS News reported.
Dominican National Police Spokesman Frank Felix Duran said early in the investigation that singer Secreto may have been the actual target of the hit.
López was also shot in the leg and police believe it was the same bullet that had already gone through Ortiz, CBS News reported.
However, police have since declared the shooting to be an attempted hit job on Ortiz for which the perpetrators were paid only about $7,800, CNN reported.
Prosecutors have charged eight men and one woman as accomplices in the attempted murder of Ortiz and the shooting of López.
All of the suspects appeared in court on Thursday, according to CNN.
The gunman, identified as 25-year-old Rolfi Ferreira Cruz, told reporters from his jail cell that Ortiz was not his intended target.
Cruz claimed "It wasn't David" and said "I got confused by his clothing,” according to CNN.
But prosecutors said it was highly unlikely that any Dominican wouldn’t recognized Ortiz.
Prosecutor Erick Montilla said that Cruz had probably made up that “story” to avoid getting “lynched” in jail for shooting a local hero, CNN reported.
"He can say whatever he wants in an interview," Montilla said. "What matters is the investigation and what he said in the interrogation."
"If you observe the video [of the shooting], he goes directly to where the victim is and shoots without hesitation,” the prosecutor said.
Cruz was also wanted for two armed robberies in New Jersey in 2017 when he allegedly shot Ortiz, CNN reported.
Newly-released surveillance video showed the gunman and the motorcycle driver meeting up with their accomplices in two cars nearby the bar before Ortiz was ambushed, CBS News reported.
Dominican police announced Wednesday that they had recovered the weapon used to shoot Ortiz buried under a house in Mao about 100 miles from where the bar where the incident occurred.
Ortiz played Major League Baseball from 1998 to 2016 and earned an estimated $159.5 million during his career, according to ESPN.
He was selected to 10 All-Star teams and played first base and designated hitter during his career.
Watch newly-released surveillance video from the shooting below: