By , , , Lorena Mongelli, Kevin Sheehan, Ruth Brown
Published June 14, 2019
The man accused of shooting David Ortiz in a botched $8,000 hit job claimed from jail Thursday that the baseball legend wasn’t his intended target — but he got confused by the retired slugger’s clothes.
“It wasn’t David, it wasn’t for David … Was confused,” Rolfi Ferreira Cruz shouted to journalists in Spanish through the bars of a police holding cell in the Dominican Republic, according to local outlet El Caribe.
The 25-year-old claimed he was thrown off by the colors of Ortiz’s duds, Listin Diario reported.
The former Red Sox player, a 10-time All-Star and three-time World Series champ, is the most famous athlete from his native Dominican Republic. And at 6-foot-3 and 230 pounds, he definitely stands out.
Ferreira Cruz’s bizarre admission comes a day after local authorities alleged the former New Jersey resident had confessed to being the gunman who shot Ortiz Sunday in what they said was an orchestrated hit for a bounty of $7,832.
Video released by authorities Thursday shows the shooter walking up to the Dial Bar and Lounge in Santo Domingo and open fire on the 43-year-old at nearly point-blank range.
Ortiz was wounded, but survived after a friend rushed him to the emergency room. Ortiz was later flown to Boston, where he was still recovering Thursday.
The video — pieced together from surveillance footage — also shows the moments leading up to the shooting, allegedly depicting motorcycle driver Eddy Vladimir Feliz García meeting with other suspects in the case near the bar.
Witnesses said the gunman drove up on the back of Feliz García’s motorbike before the shooting — and tried to get back on, but fled when enraged bar-goers surrounded the vehicle, according to court papers.
Ferreira Cruz was already on the lam over two 2017 robberies in New Jersey, where he allegedly stuck up a 26-year-old man and a 41-year-old man on the same evening, the Passaic County Sheriff’s Office confirmed to The Post Thursday.
The owner of a bodega near the site of one of the robberies said she and her husband recognized his mug shot after the arrest in the Dominican Republic.
“We were watching TV the other night and my husband say, ‘Hey, I know him!’ ” Magda Cruz, 41, said at her mini-mart on Highland Avenue in Clifton.
“I recognize him. He lives around here. He was a customer. He came in regularly. Not for the last year … He went back to the Dominican Republic.”
Another suspect in the shooting, Luis Alfredo Rivas Clase, was arrested in Passaic County in 2016 for allegedly driving around with an illegal machine gun and a high capacity magazine, authorities said. At the time, he was living in Queens, according to the sheriff’s office.
Rivas Clase — who Dominican authorities say is known as “The Surgeon” — also is wanted in connection with an April 2018 shooting in Reading, Pa. He remains at large in the Ortiz case.