Former Boston Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz was recovering Tuesday at Massachusetts General Hospital following a second surgery, as authorities in his native Dominican Republic searched for a motive and one of the suspects behind the shooting Sunday night that wounded the popular slugger.
Ortiz, 43, “underwent a successful second surgery” at Mass General, his wife, Tiffany, said in a statement released through the Red Sox. “He is stable, awake and resting comfortably this morning in the ICU, where he is expected to remain for the next several days.”
Ortiz, among the most popular players in Red Sox history, was shot in the back at close range as he sat at a streetside bar and lounge in Santo Domingo, the Dominican capital. He suffered damage to his liver and intestines, and underwent a six-hour, emergency surgery at a Dominican hospital before being flown to BostonMonday night.
“I want to thank everyone for the outpouring of support and love that we have received during this incredibly difficult time,” Tiffany Ortiz’s statement said. “We ask for privacy as David works toward recovery.”
Authorities in Santo Domingo offered few concrete details of their investigation into the shooting, but Dominican Attorney General Jean Rodriguez said in a statement the investigation had “advanced considerably,” and that the results would be released “in a timely manner.”
Aside from ruling out a robbery attempt, police officials have not commented on a possible motive in the attack, in which two assailants rode up to the establishment, Dial Bar and Lounge, on a motorcycle, and after one of them shot Ortiz, attempted unsuccessfully to flee on the motorcycle.
Two others were wounded in the attack, including television host Jhoel Lopez, who was seated with Ortiz and who was struck in the leg by the same bullet that hit Ortiz.
“It was the act of a hired killer,” Leo Lopez, Ortiz’s spokesman, told Diario Libre, a Dominican newspaper.
Bystanders apprehended one of the suspects, identified by police as 25-year-old Eddy Feliz Garcia, and beat and stomped him until police arrived. Authorities originally said Garcia was the shooter, but revised that statement to say he was actually the driver of the motorcycle; the shooter remains at large, police said.
After rumors circulated on social media and in news reports that a Dominican police officer had been involved in the shooting, the Dominican National Police took the step of issuing a statement saying those reports were “categorically” false.
“Our institution has no link to the incident,” the police said in a statement.
Police Capt. Luis Manuel Pimentel told CNN that authorities intended to question Ortiz, but had not been able to yet.
Eliezer Salvador, a friend of Ortiz’s who said he drove the slugger to the hospital in the aftermath of the shooting, told The Associated Press he asked Ortiz if he knew of any enemies who would want to have him killed.
“No, my brother,” Ortiz replied, according to Salvador. “I’ve never wronged anyone.”