While David Ortiz continues to recover, investigators said they were still looking for suspects and trying to piece together information to help determine why anyone would want to maim or kill the former Boston Red Sox slugger.
On Thursday came a major revelation: The Dominican Republic’s lead prosecutor said Ortiz was not the target of the shooting at a nightclub in his hometown on June 9.
Instead, attorney general Jean Alain Rodriguez said the target was another man, who was dressed similarly to Ortiz and seated with him at a bar in Santo Domingo. Sixto David Fernandez is believed to be the actual target of alleged mastermind Victor Hugo Gomez, a member of Mexico’s Gulf Cartel.
Authorities said Fernandez was wanted by Gomez because he thought his cooperation with authorities was responsible for him being imprisoned.
“Sixto David Fernandez pointed to Victor Hugo Gomez as the only person who may want to attempt to kill him, which he had already expressed through repeated threatening messages,’’ Rodriguez said.
More good news: Ortiz is feeling so much better that his condition has been upgraded to “good” while he convalesces in Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.
“We remain grateful to everyone who has helped David through this ordeal, both in the Dominican Republic and here in Boston,” his wife, Tiffany Ortiz, said in a statement. “David’s journey to good health has been bolstered by the many expressions of love that have come to us from across the globe. Your support has lifted his spirits tremendously during this challenging time.”
Earlier this week, authorities said they believed they knew who plotted and paid for the shooting – Alberto Miguel Rodriguez Mota. Authorities have already detained 11 others in the case.
According to police, Mota offered 400,000 pesos – about $7,800 – to arrange the shooting. While Mota’s name was made public, a judge held a closed hearing for a another suspect nicknamed “Bone.” According to The Associated Press, Bone – Gabriel Alexander Perez Vizcaino – has been accused of being the liaison who put Mota in touch with the gunman and his accomplices.
The documents involving Bone claim a man in prison for an unrelated case reached out to Perez about a week before the shooting and sent a picture of the Ortiz to share with the hitmen, which he did as they gathered minutes before the shooting. Officials have not confirmed if the picture was of Ortiz.
Apparently, Perez then sold the iPhone 6 used to plan the attack for $180 so he could rid himself of the evidence.
“He did this upon finding out that police were looking for him,” the document states.
Until Thursday, there had been a million rumors floating around about the behavior of Ortiz and how it may have contributed to him being targeted. There was a fascinating story in the New York Daily News over the weekend raising the possibly Ortiz may have been involved in nefarious activities that led him to being shot by Rolfi Ferreira-Cruz.
A Dominican source told the Daily News something happened involving Ortiz months before the shooting. Ortiz’s white Lexus was chased down and cut off by a Mercedes forcing it to crash in front of a firehouse. There is no official record of the incident.
The Daily News said U.S. law enforcement agencies, including the Drug Enforcement Administration, are investigating the Ortiz incident and that a powerfully connected drug kingpin, nicknamed “The Abuser” might be a person of interest to authorities.
A popular theory about why Ortiz was shot was reported last week by the Daily Mail in London. Authorities believe Ortiz was shot by two cops “hired by a Dominican Republic drug lord who thought the baseball player was having an affair with his wife.”
An Ortiz representative, Leo Lopez, denied that allegation. Ortiz is married and has three children. Video taken after the shooting shows a crowd attacking a man who drove a scooter involved in the alleged hit. Another video taken the hospital where Ortiz was originally treated depicted a brawl involving a woman Ortiz was with.
Now all of it has apparently been disproven by the authorities.