MLB great David Ortiz shot in Dominican Republic, suspect arrested

https://abcnews.go.com/Sports/red-sox-legend-david-ortiz-shot-dominican-republic/story?id=63597748

Boston Red Sox legend David Ortiz was shot at a nightclub in the Dominican Republic late Sunday, according to his father.

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The bullet entered Ortiz’s back and exited through his abdomen, according to Ortiz’s father, Leo Ortiz, who spoke to reporters outside the hospital in Santo Domingo where he is being treated. Leo Ortiz said his son was out of surgery just after midnight and is in stable condition.

While Ortiz’s father said none of his 43-year-old son’s organs were compromised, there were conflicting reports that the retired ball player’s injuries were more severe.

Leo Lopez, Ortiz’s media assistant, told ESPN that doctors removed part of Ortiz’s intestines, colon and gallbladder during a six-hour operation. Lopez said Ortiz also suffered liver damage.

PHOTO: In this June 22, 2017, file photo, retired Boston Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz is honored with the renaming of a portion of Yawkey Way to David Ortiz Drive outside Fenway Park in Boston.AP Photo/Charles Krupa
In this June 22, 2017, file photo, retired Boston Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz is honored with the renaming of a portion of Yawkey Way to David Ortiz Drive outside Fenway Park in Boston.

“Doctors say he’s out of danger…,” Lopez told ESPN.

Leo Ortiz happily told reporters outside the hospital in Spanish, “Big Papi will be around for a long time.”

The man who allegedly shot David Ortiz was identified Monday as Eddy Feliz Garcia, 25, Frank Félix Durán, a spokesman for the Dominican Republic National Police, told ABC News.

In a brief statement, police said they do not believe robbery was the motive but declined to elaborate on what led investigators to that conclusion.

PHOTO: Dominican Republic National Police arrested Eddy Vladimir Feliz Garcia, 25, after baseball star David Ortiz was shot in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, on June 9, 2019.Obtained by ABC News
Dominican Republic National Police arrested Eddy Vladimir Feliz Garcia, 25, after baseball star David Ortiz was shot in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, on June 9, 2019.

Garcia apparently tried to flee the nightclub after the shooting but onlookers immediately stopped him and roughed him up before he was turned over to the police and taken to a hospital for treatment. He was treated and released into police custody.

“They called to tell me that David is injured and that they took him to a medical center, but they did not tell me how he is or exactly where he was transferred,” Leo Ortiz told ESPN via telephone earlier in the evening from the Dominican Republic.

“At the moment, everything is confusing. I’m trying to find out where they took my son,” he added.

The slugger was born in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, and is one of the most famous baseball players in the country’s rich history of the sport.

The shooting took place at Dial Bar and Lounge, a nightclub in the nation’s capital, according to ESPN. CCTV footage acquired by ABC News shows a crowded bar with people scattering after the shots are fired and Ortiz, sitting at the bar, appearing to grab his side.

PHOTO: In this Oct. 10, 2016, file photo, Boston Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz encourages the crowd from the dugout during the eighth inning in Game 3 of baseballs American League Division Series against the Cleveland Indians in Boston.Elise Amendola/AP
In this Oct. 10, 2016, file photo, Boston Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz encourages the crowd from the dugout during the eighth inning in Game 3 of baseball’s American League Division Series against the Cleveland Indians in Boston.

“Our thoughts are with David Ortiz, who is reportedly hospitalized after being shot in his hometown of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic,” MLB tweeted on its official Twitter account.

The Red Sox released a statement of its own later in the evening, saying, “Late last night we were made aware of an incident involving David Ortiz in the Dominican Republic. David’s family has confirmed that he sustained a gunshot wound to the lower back/abdominal region. David is being treated at Clinica Abel Gonzalez in Santo Domingo where he is recovering after surgery. We have offered David’s family all available resources to aid his recovery and will continue to keep them in our hearts.”

Jhoel López, a TV host in the Dominican Republic, who was speaking to Ortiz at the bar when the shooting took place, was also injured, according to The Associated Press. Lopez suffered non-life threatening injuries, with police saying he appears to have been struck in the leg by the same bullet that hit Ortiz.

Ortiz won three World Series — in 2004, 2007 and 2013 — and helped break the so-called curse of the Boston Red Sox.

Lovingly known as “Big Papi,” he was a 10-time All-Star, seven-time Silver Slugger winner and finished in the top 5 in MVP voting five times. He was also the World Series MVP in 2013.

Hall of Fame pitcher Pedro Martinez, a legend in the Dominican Republic in his own right, and a former teammate with Ortiz on the 2004 champion Red Sox, tweeted, “I’m at peace knowing you out of danger, you a strong man Compai, can’t wait to hear your voice.”

Ortiz retired from baseball in 2016. He hit .315 and led the league in doubles and runs batted in, but held fast in his decision to walk away as he had announced months earlier.

He finished his career with 541 career home runs, 17th all-time, and was eighth all-time in extra-base hits (1,192) and 12th all-time in doubles (632).