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FILE PHOTO: Boston Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz follows through as he flies out in the eighth inning against the Toronto Blue Jays during their MLB American League East baseball game in Boston, Massachusetts, September 22, 2013. REUTERS/Dominick Reuter
June 12, 2019
(Reuters) – Police in the Dominican Republic have arrested a second suspect in the shooting of former Boston Red Sox star David Ortiz, the Boston Globe reported, and his wife said that the retired baseball slugger was making good progress toward recovery.
The arrest came as Ortiz, 43, recovered in a Boston hospital following a second round of surgery on Tuesday, according to his family, which said he was sitting up and had taken some steps.
Known as “Big Papi,” Ortiz is still a hero in Boston for his role in three World Series championships, and for his uplifting remarks in the days after the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing. He retired in 2016 after hitting 541 career home runs.
Ortiz was shot in the torso on Sunday evening at an open-air nightclub in Santo Domingo, the capital of his native Dominican Republic, after a gunman rolled up on a motorcycle. Ortiz’s friend Jhoel López, a television host, was also wounded in the shooting.
Police quickly arrested one suspect, identified as Eddy Féliz García, who was beaten by bystanders at the scene.
Ortiz underwent a first round of surgery in Santo Domingo on Sunday night before being flown to Boston’s Massachusetts General Hospital, where he underwent more surgery.
A trauma and acute care surgeon was leading the team treating Ortiz, his wife, Tiffany Ortiz, said in a statement on Wednesday.
“Yesterday and this morning, David was able to sit up as well as take some steps,” she said. “His condition is guarded and he will remain in the ICU (intensive care unit) for the coming days, but he is making good progress toward recovery.”
Féliz appeared in court on Tuesday evening, charged with being an accomplice in the attempted murder of Ortiz. His lawyer, Deivi Solano, told reporters outside the court that the judge had agreed to postpone a hearing until Wednesday afternoon.
Féliz’s mother, Justina García, told reporters the charges against her son, who remained in custody, were a “lie.”
“They can’t link it to him because he is not a criminal,” she said.
Solano said his client did not shoot Ortiz, but works as a motorcycle taxi driver and may have unwittingly driven the shooter to the scene, CNN reported.
The second suspect remained in custody on Tuesday evening, the Globe reported, citing an unnamed official. Police have not released the identity of that suspect, according to the paper.
Ortiz played 20 seasons in Major League Baseball, spending his first six years with the Minnesota Twins before joining the Boston Red Sox.
(Additional reporting by Jonathan Allen in New York and Alex Dobuzinskis in Los Angeles; Additional reporting by Rich McKay in Atlanta; Editing by Larry King, Jeffrey Benkoe and Bill Berkrot)