By Robert Gearty
Published June 15, 2019
Newly released photos show the nine suspects in the botched hit on Boston Red Sox legend David Ortiz being escorted into a Santo Domingo courtroom wearing police helmets and bulletproof vests.
The extra security for the eight men and one woman underscored that police weren’t taken any chances in a case that has generated international headlines.
Ortiz, a 10-time All-Star and three-time World Series champ, was flown to a Boston’s Massachusetts General Hospital after being shot in the back Sunday at a Santo Domingo bar in the Dominican Republic.
At the arraignment Friday evening, the suspects were ordered to serve a year in prison to allow prosecutors time to build their case against them, Fox 25 Boston reported.
During the proceeding, the man who allegedly admitted to shooting Ortiz, Rolfi Ferreira-Cruz, 25, claimed he was only told the clothing color of his target and didn’t mean to shoot Ortiz, WHDH-TV.
“I was told the clothing color, nothing else,” Ferreira-Cruz said, according to the station. “I didn’t see him.”
Footage from a surveillance camera at the bar shows the gunman approaching Ortiz and shooting him at nearly point-blank range.
The director of the National Police says suspects had been offered $8,000 to carry the hit, the station reported.
No motive has been announced.
Ferreira-Cruz, of Reading, Penn., is also facing armed robbery charges in New Jersey.
Ortiz isn’t expected to be released from the hospital until next week.
"He continues to heal and make progress. David will continue to recover in the ICU and future updates on his condition will be provided when necessary," the hospital said in a statement.
The Red Sox outscored the Orioles Friday in Baltimore 13-2, with thoughts of Ortiz still much on their minds as they hit the road.
"We're getting updates every day," manager Alex Cora said. "On the off-day when we get back (next Thursday), we'll have a chance to go visit him and spend time with him."