The man who allegedly paid for the hit on David Ortiz that severely injured the former Red Sox star was identified Monday by Dominican authorities in court documents, according to reports.
Ortiz was shot in the back while at a nightclub earlier month in his hometown of Santo Domingo, the capital of the Dominican Republic. He underwent emergency surgery at a hospital there before the Red Sox flew him to Massachusetts General Hospital, where he is in recovery after sustaining damage to several organs.
Dominican authorities are intensely investigating the attack on the 43-year-old Ortiz, one of baseball’s most popular figures and an icon in his native country. Ten people have been detained, including the alleged gunman and the motorcycle driver who took him to the nightclub, in what has been described as a hit job.
Among others reportedly arrested were two men, Jose Eduardo Ciprián and Carlos Alvarez, already in prison for other crimes. According to CNN, they helped coordinate the attack and distributed approximately $7,800 to a group that could carry it out.
The money came from a man identified Monday as Alberto Miguel Rodriguez Mota, who prosecutors said was a fugitive. Mota, per the AP, used another man, Gabriel Alexánder Pérez Vizcaíno, as a liaison between himself and Ciprián.
Court documents say that on June 9, the day of the shooting, Ciprián texted a photo of the intended target to Vizcaíno, who shared it with other suspects at a gas station shortly before the attack.
The alleged gunman, 25-year-old Rolfi Ferreira-Cruz, reportedly claimed from his jail cell that he did not mean to shoot Ortiz but rather another person, and that he got confused because Ortiz’s attire resembled that of the target he was instructed to find.
It is still unclear what the motive may have been for the attack.
“Trust the authorities,” said an attorney for Ortiz, José Martínez Hoepelman (via the AP). “They have worked tirelessly to obtain the results that we have so far. We all want more information, but we have to wait.”
Ortiz helped the Red Sox end their 86-year World Series drought in 2004 and was a major part of two more championship teams before he retired in 2016. “Big Papi” was a feared slugger whose gregarious personality won him fans across the sport and beyond.
His wife, Tiffany Ortiz, posted on Instagram Sunday, saying, “This Fathers Day brings with it a new appreciation for life and an awareness in what truly matters.” She added: “Be present in every moment, don’t get hung up on gifts, material things, titles, fame or fortune. Those things can be taken away in a moments notice.”
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