×

Report: Ortiz not target of hit man

The Associated Press

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic — Former Red Sox slugger David Ortiz was shot in the back by a gunman who mistook him for the real target, another man who was seated at the same table at an outdoor cafe, Dominican officials said Wednesday.

The Dominican Republic’s attorney general and national police director told reporters that the attempted murder was ordered from the United States by Victor Hugo Gomez, an associate of Mexico’s Gulf Cartel. They said Gomez had hired a gang of killers to eliminate his cousin, whom Gomez suspected of turning him in to Dominican drug investigators in 2011.

The cousin, Sixto David Fernandez, was seated with the former baseball star on the night of June 9, when a gunman approached and fired a single shot at Ortiz, the officials said. Fern’ndez owned an auto-repair shop and was friends with Ortiz, according to Attorney General Jean Alain Rodriguez and Maj. Gen. Ney Aldrin Bautista Almonte, director of the Dominican Republic’s national police.

Ortiz remains hospitalized in Boston, where doctors have upgraded his condition from guarded to good.

At least 11 people have been arrested in the case so far, ranging from the alleged gunman to a series of drivers and relatively minor accomplices. Rodriguez and Bautista said the case of mistaken identity began when one of the accomplices shot a blurry photo of Fernandez seated at the Dial Bar and Lounge in an upscale section of Santo Domingo.

In the photo, a white freezer obscures Fernandez’s lower body.

“It was a badly lit photo taken minutes before the attack,” the chief prosecutor said.

Ortiz was wearing white pants on the night of the shooting and law-enforcement officials said that the gunman, Rolfy Ferreyra, mistook him for the target and fired.

Many Dominicans were immediately skeptical that their country’s most famous person, a 6-foot-3-inch (2 meters) man weighing around 250 pounds (113 kilograms), could be mistaken for Fern’ndez, who appeared to be far smaller with a lighter complexion in a photo provided by authorities.

“He is big. He likes to attract attention,” said Daniel Pou, an independent consultant on public security. “He wears a lot of jewelry. He’s flashy all around.”

The alleged shooter is a skinny, tattooed 25-year-old whom U.S. prosecutors said is wanted on armed robbery and gun charges in New Jersey.

COMMENTS