Former Boston Red Sox star David ‘Big Papi’ Ortiz has been shot and wounded in the Dominican Republic, and has come out of emergency surgery in stable condition.
Authorities said a man got off the back of a motorcycle and shot Ortiz in the back at nearly point-blank range as he was dining in the open-air lounge with television presenter Jhoel Lopez, who was also injured in the shooting.
The bullet entered Ortiz’s lower back and was a through-and-through, officials said.
There were initial reports that the shooting was an attempted robbery, but officials now deny that robbery was a motive, and police sources say the shooting may have even been an attempted contract killing.
A view of the lounge where the shooting occurred is seen in a file photo. Witnesses say a man got off a motorcycle and approached Ortiz, shooting him in the back at close range
Ortiz is seen sitting in the club (left) before being shot and falling to the ground (right)
Ortiz was rushed into surgery at the Abel Gonzolez Clinic, according to local journalist Dionisio Soldevila.
‘Please don’t let me die, I’m a good man,’ Ortiz begged the emergency room doctor, according to Soldevila.
At around midnight, family members said Ortiz had come out of surgery and was resting comfortably in stable condition.
The Red Sox have offered to send a private plane to return Ortiz to medical facilities in the U.S. if needed.
Television presenter Jhoel Lopez, who hosted Me Gusta de Noche in 2017, was at the club with Ortiz and was also shot in the incident.
Lopez was reportedly struck in the leg, possibly by the same bullet that passed through Ortiz.
Soon after the shooting, Ortiz’s father, Enrique (Leo) Ortiz, told ESPN’s Enrique Rojas 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.’
‘At the moment, everything is confusing. I’m trying to find out where they took my son,’ he said.
The suspect in the shooting cowers as an angry crowd kicks him and pelts him with debris after a shooting left Ortiz injured on Sunday night in Santo Domingo
Suspect: Police identified the suspect in the shooting as Eddy Feliz Garcia (above)
ESPN reported that Ortiz was in the Dial Bar and Lounge at the time of the shooting and the gunman has been detained.
Ortiz was rushed to a local medical facility in Santo Domingo, where the 43-year-old former slugger was born.
Word of the shooting sparked an outpouring of support from both former teammates and former opponents.
‘I’m at peace knowing you out of danger; you a strong man Compai, can’t wait to hear your voice. My thoughts and prayers are with you, see you soon,’ tweeted Pedro Martinez, a former Red Sox pitcher from the Dominican Republic who was an inspiration for Ortiz on his path to MLB.
Leo Ortiz, father of former Boston Red Sox slugger David Ortiz, talks to the press outside the clinic where his son is being treated after being shot
Liza Blanco (center), wife of the television host Jhoel Lopez, who was wounded in the shooting, waits at the Abel Gonzalez clinic in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
Liza Blanco (center), wife of the television host Jhoel Lopez, is seen speaking to reporters
Police officers guard the Abel Gonzalez clinic where Ortiz had surgery after the shooting
‘Anxiously waiting for more news. In the meantime, only prayers for @davidortiz, Tiffany and their family,’ tweeted Alex Rodriguez, former slugger for the arch-rival New York Yankees.
Ortiz is married to Tiffany Ortiz and he has three children.
‘Thoughts and prayers going out to @davidortiz,’ wrote current Angels star Mike Trout.
Ortiz is beloved in the Dominican Republic, where he is well-known for his charity work with children.
Ortiz ended his 20-year big league career in 2016, when he earned the last of his 10 All-Star appearances.
David Ortiz #34 of the Boston Red Sox tips his cap after the Cleveland Indians defeated the Boston Red Sox 4-3 in game three of the American League Divison Series in 2016
The former designated hitter and first baseman won seven Silver Slugger awards in his career, and he hit 541 home runs with 1,768 RBIs in 2,408 games in the majors.
He ranks 17th in major league history ion career home runs.
Ortiz began his major league career by playing six seasons for the Minnesota Twins (1997-2002), but his career blossomed after he joined the Red Sox.
His postseason heroics helped Boston capture its first World Series title in 86 years in 2004, when he was the Most Valuable Player of the American League Championship Series as the Red Sox overcame a 3-0 series deficit to the New York Yankees in seven games.
He also helped the Red Sox win championships in 2007 and 2013, capturing World Series MVP honors in the latter season.
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