Retired Boston Red Sox slugger David Ortiz landed in Boston in an air ambulance Monday night after a targeted shooting at a bar in Santo Domingo forced doctors in his home nation of the Dominican Republic to remove his gallbladder and part of his intestine.
Ortiz, 43, arrived in Boston around 10:30 p.m. after the Red Sox sent a plane to transport him to Massachusetts General Hospital. The former MLB player, known best by the nickname “Big Papi,” was shot at close range in the torso Sunday night at the Dial Bar and Lounge in Santo Domingo.
"Our medical team here in Boston and the doctors in the Dominican Republic have confirmed that David’s condition is still serious, but that he is stable enough to be transported back here to Boston for continued care," Red Sox President Sam Kennedy told Boston’s WCVB.
Dominican Republic National Police said that two men entered the bar after arriving on a motorcycle. One of the men shot a single bullet into Ortiz as the patrons ran for cover. After one man fled on foot, officials arrested a second, Eddy Vladimir Feliz Garcia, who was then transported to the hospital after being attacked by a crowd at the bar. Garcia was previously arrested on drug charges in 2017.
Police did not confirm the suspects' motive, but a rep for Ortiz, Leo Lopez, said, “There is not a single doubt that this was an act of hired killers.”
Two other people were injured in the shooting, including Dominican TV host Jhoel Lopez who was with Ortiz. Officials believe Lopez was injured by the same bullet that entered Ortiz, National Police Director Ney Aldrin Bautista Almonte said, according to the Boston Herald.
Ortiz brought the Red Sox to three World Series championships, was a 10-time All-Star and hit 541 home runs during his career.
He was hailed as a hero in Boston for rallying the city after the Boston Marathon bombing. He retired after his 2016 season and lives part of the year in the Dominican Republican where he is known to frequent the nightlife scene.