Christian Petersen/Getty Images(SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic) — Red Sox legend David “Big Papi” Ortiz arrived in Boston on Monday night from a hospital in the Dominican Republic after he was shot in the back at a nightclub by a man who police say confessed to the ambush attack.
The bullet entered Ortiz’s back and exited through his abdomen, according to Ortiz’s father, Americo Enrique Ortiz, who spoke to reporters outside the hospital in Santo Domingo where his son was being treated. He said his son got out of surgery just after midnight on Monday and was in stable condition.
Sam Kennedy, the Red Sox president and chief executive officer, said Monday afternoon that the team sent a medical air ambulance to pick up Ortiz and jet him back to Boston to be treated at Massachusetts General Hospital. He said he hoped Ortiz would be back in Boston “sometime later tonight.”
Ortiz arrived at Massachusetts General Hospital around 9:30 p.m. on Monday.
“David Ortiz is one of the most celebrated and beloved members of the Red Sox family,” said Kennedy, adding that the shooting was jarring news to the team, from the front office to the players, coaches and fans.
In the Dominican Republic, Dr. Abel Gonzalez said the shooting left Ortiz, the married father of three children, with significant injuries.
“The wound caused damage to the liver [and] small intestine. We had to remove part of the intestines as well as [part of] the liver,” Gonzalez said at a news conference Monday afternoon.
The shooting unfolded Sunday night at the Dial Bar and Lounge, a nightclub in the nation’s capital. Security camera footage acquired by ABC News shows a crowded bar with people scattering after shots are fired and Ortiz, sitting at the bar, appear to grab his side and then collapse.
The man who allegedly shot Ortiz was identified by police as 25-year-old Eddy Feliz Garcia.
Garcia reportedly confessed to shooting Ortiz, according to Frank Félix Duran, a spokesman for the Dominican Republic National Police. Duran declined to elaborate on what the suspect told the police.
In a brief statement, police said they do not believe robbery was the motive.
Garcia apparently tried to flee the nightclub after the shooting but onlookers immediately stopped and attacked him before he was turned over to the police and taken to a hospital for treatment. He was treated and released into police custody.
Garcia suffered a head contusion, trauma to his thorax and injuries to his left knee and right leg when the crowd detained him, according to the Dominican Republic National Health Service.
Duran said Garcia appeared to be under the influence when police took him into custody. He said police are awaiting a toxicology report to determine if Garcia was under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Duran said Garcia has a criminal record, including minor drug trafficking arrests.
Kennedy, the Red Sox president, said a medical team in Boston has been in communication with physicians treating Ortiz in the Dominican Republic. He said Ortiz’s condition is “still serious.”
“But he is stable enough to be transported back here to Boston to continue care,” Kennedy said.
Dr. Gonzalez said Ortiz was conscious on Monday afternoon and his blood pressure was good.
“Today, his tubes were removed, he opened his eyes and the first thing he asked was to see his family,” González said of Ortiz. “He is in good spirits, waiting to travel to Boston this afternoon to see his physician and his wife.”
Americo Ortiz also attended the news conference and personally thanked the doctors and staff at the Abel González Center for Advanced Medicine in Santo Domingo who treated his son and likely saved his life.
He said he wanted to make it clear that his son, who was born in Santo Domingo and is one of the most famous baseball players in the country’s rich history of the sport, was not being taken back to the U.S. because of lack of service in the Dominican Republic.
“We are very satisfied with the service,” said Americo Ortiz, explaining that his son’s family and personal doctors are in Boston.
David Ortiz left the hospital by ambulance just after 5 p.m. local time on Monday and was driven to an airport to be placed on the medical ambulance jet.
“Our thoughts are with David Ortiz, who is reportedly hospitalized after being shot in his hometown of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic,” MLB tweeted on its official Twitter account.
News of Ortiz being shot reached some Boston officials, including Mayor Marty Walsh, as they were helping to launch a new gun violence prevention effort in the city.
“It’s a tough situation. Hopefully, he’s OK. He’s such a big Boston icon and part of our city, part of our life here in Boston,” Mayor Walsh told ABC affiliate WCVB-TV in Boston.
Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey said she is praying for Ortiz to make a full recovery.
“There’s nobody who’s a bigger fighter who knows how to step up in a time of crisis than Big Papi,” Healey said told WCVB.
Ortiz was part of three Red Sox World Series championship teams — in 2004, 2007 and 2013. He’s credited with helping to break the so-called “Curse of the Bambino,” derived from the Red Sox sale of Babe Ruth to the New York Yankees in 1918 and, according to superstition, led to Boston’s 86-year championship drought.
Lovingly known as “Big Papi,” he was a 10-time All-Star, seven-time Silver Slugger winner and finished in the top 5 in MVP voting five times. He was also the World Series MVP in 2013.
Hall of Fame pitcher Pedro Martinez, a legend in the Dominican Republic in his own right, and a former teammate with Ortiz on the 2004 champion Red Sox team, tweeted, “I’m at peace knowing you out of danger, you a strong man Compai, can’t wait to hear your voice.”
Ortiz retired from baseball in 2016. He hit .315 and led the American League in doubles and runs batted in during his final season, but held fast in his decision to walk away from the game as he had announced months earlier.
He finished his career with 541 career home runs, 17th all-time, and was eighth all-time in extra-base hits (1,192) and 12th all-time in doubles (632).
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