Rob Carr/Getty Images(SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic) — Six men have been arrested in the brazen ambush shooting of Boston Red Sox icon David “Big Papi” Ortiz that occurred at a crowded nightclub in the Dominican Republic.
Prosecutors said Wednesday that the suspects set out to kill the retired baseball player to collect an $8,000 bounty placed on his head.
In a news conference in the Dominican Republic, police showed reporters the handgun used in the attempted hit job Sunday on Ortiz.
Police said a total of seven men were all part of the murder plot that left Ortiz with a bullet wound to the back.
Earlier, police identified one of the suspects as Eddy Valdimir Garcia, 25, who was nabbed by onlookers and beaten before being turned over to police minutes after Ortiz was severely wounded at the Dial Bar and Lounge, a nightclub in Santo Domingo, the capital of the Dominican Republic. Garcia was treated at a hospital for his injuries.
Photos of officers escorting Garcia into a police station following his release from a hospital showed him with stitched up gashes on his forehead and nose, a fresh bruise above his right eye and a busted lower lip.
The investigation is ongoing and police have not yet publicly identified the suspect who shot Ortiz.
Surveillance video taken from the nightclub showed the gunman walking up behind Ortiz as he was sitting at the bar and shooting him in the back at close range.
Garcia allegedly confessed to playing a role in the shooting, according to police. But his attorney, Bunel Ramirez Meran, said Tuesday night that Garcia is not the gunman who shot Ortiz. Meran said Garcia is innocent.
Charging papers obtained by ABC News show that Garcia is charged with “intentionally causing injury through the use of an illegal firearm” in addition to attempted homicide and criminal association.
Garcia has been remanded into custody while legal proceedings are underway, documents showed.
Frank Félix Duran, a spokesman for the Dominican Republic National Police, said that Garcia confessed to playing a role in the shooting, but he would not elaborate on what the suspect told the police.
Meran said that Garcia is accused of being the motorcyclist who drove the shooter to the Dial Bar and Lounge. Meran noted there is no legal distinction between being the author or the accomplice to a crime in the Dominican Republic.
After being shot and collapsing at the bar as a crowd of patrons scattered at the sound of gunfire, Ortiz underwent surgery at a Santo Domingo hospital. During the operation, doctors removed part of his small and large intestines and liver.
He was flown to Boston late Sunday night on an air ambulance jet chartered by the Red Sox team and underwent a second surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital.
“David continues to recuperate today in the Intensive Care Unit at Massachusetts General Hospital under the direction of treating trauma surgeon Dr. David King,” Ortiz’s wife, Tiffany Ortiz, said in a statement released Wednesday.
“Yesterday and this morning, David was able to sit up as well as take some steps. His condition is guarded and he will remain in the ICU for the coming days, but he is making good progress towards recovery,” she added. “My family and I again want to thank everyone for their endless love and well wishes, and still ask for privacy while David continues to heal.”
The security camera footage from the Dial Bar and Lounge acquired by ABC News shows a chaotic scene erupt as the gunman boldly approached Ortiz from behind and shot him without warning and in front of numerous witnesses.
Jhoel López, a TV host in the Dominican Republic, was speaking to Ortiz at the bar when the shooting broke out and was also injured, according to The Associated Press. Lopez suffered non-life threatening injuries when he was struck in the leg, apparently by the same bullet that hit Ortiz.
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