Former Red Sox slugger David Ortiz is in stable condition after being shot in the lower back and abdomen Sunday night at a Santo Domingo bar and restaurant in the Dominican Republic.
"He is out of surgery and stable; he is resting,'' Leo Ortiz said (via the Associated Press). “Big Papi will be around for a long time.''
Citing local authorities, ESPN reported that Ortiz, 43, was shot at close range by a man who had just gotten off a motorcycle at around 8:50 p.m. at the Dial Bar and Lounge, located in an upscale nightspot district of the capital. He was taken to the Abel Gonzalez clinic, where he underwent surgery. Leo Ortiz, according to ESPN, said that doctors expect a full recovery and that no major organs were struck. ESPN’s Enrique Rojas cited a more specific report indicating that parts of Ortiz’s colon as well as his gallbladder were removed and “his liver was also damaged.”
Dionisio Soldevila, a reporter and radio host from the Dominican Republic told ESPN that he had spoken with a doctor who first treated Ortiz and said that the bullet went through his body. According to Soldevila, Ortiz told doctors, “Please don’t let me die. I’m a good man.”
The shooting set off a chaotic scene. Security footage shows Ortiz seated at a table near the street when the gunman pulls up and fires, with Ortiz falling to the ground. (Video here contains NSFW language.) The gunman was quickly caught and beaten by onlookers, according to Dominican National Police Director Ney Aldrin Bautista Almonte. The shooter will be questioned, Bautista told the Associated Press, after he is treated for injuries.
It is unclear so far whether Ortiz, who was known to frequent the Dial and spends at least part of the year in his home country, was the intended target, according to Bautista, and Leo Ortiz told local media he had no idea why his son would have been targeted. In addition to Ortiz, two other people were wounded, including Jhoel Lopez, a Dominican TV host who was with the former player. Bautista said he believes the same bullet struck both Ortiz and Lopez, who was hit in the leg. His injuries are not life-threatening, his wife, TV host Liza Blanco, said. The third person and the injuries he or she sustained were not named.
In a statement provided to The Post, the Red Sox said that “we have offered David’s family all available resources to aid in his recovery and will continue to keep them in our hearts.”
A standout for the Red Sox on the field and their emotional leader in the clubhouse, the 10-time all-star helped the franchise break its 86-year drought with a World Series win in 2004. The team won two more championships with him, including in 2013 when he was named MVP of the World Series. He retired after the 2016 season.
“I’m at peace knowing you out of danger; you a strong man Compai, can’t wait to hear your voice,” Pedro Martinez, his former teammate, tweeted. “My thoughts and prayers are with you, see you soon.”