Authorities in the Dominican Republic on Tuesday night reportedly apprehended a second suspect in the shooting of former Boston Red Sox slugger David Ortiz, who continues his recovery at Massachusetts General Hospital following two surgeries to treat his gunshot wounds.
Oliver Moises Mirabal Acosta was captured Tuesday night in the town of Mao, the Associated Press reported, citing court documents it had obtained. It was unclear whether Acosta was suspected of being the shooter who fired the bullet that hit Ortiz, 43, in the back as he sat at a streetside bar in the Dominican capital of Santo Domingo on Sunday night.
Ortiz, a 10-time all-star and three-time World Series champion who ranks among the most popular Red Sox players in history, underwent emergency surgery Sunday night in Santo Domingo and a second surgery Monday night in Boston, in which his gallbladder and parts of his intestine were removed. Ortiz remained in stable condition in the intensive care unit at Mass General, where he is expected to remain for at least several days.
Ortiz “continues to recuperate today,” Ortiz’s wife, Tiffany, said in a statement released through the Red Sox on Wednesday. “Yesterday and this morning, David was able to sit up as well as take some steps. His condition is guarded and he will remain in the ICU for the coming days, but he is making good progress towards recovery.”
Tiffany Ortiz asked for privacy “while David continues to heal.”
Eddy Féliz Garcia, whom authorities suspect drove the gunman on a motorcycle to the Dial Bar and Lounge, was charged at an initial court appearance Tuesday night as an accomplice to an attempted murder, according to the AP.
Garcia’s defense attorney, Deivi Solano, told reporters in Santo Domingo that his client is a motorcycle taxi driver who was unaware he was driving the suspected gunman and picked up the fair in “good faith.”
‘‘He didn’t know what they were going to do. He’s a fan of David’s,’’ Solano said.
After the shooting, Garcia’s motorcycle faltered in the street, and Garcia was apprehended and attacked by an angry mob of onlookers, before being turned over to police. The suspected gunman fled.
Solano also said Garcia — who is 23, not 25, as police initially said — grew up worshiping Ortiz, cutting out pictures and articles on the slugger and putting them on his walls.
Authorities have yet to speak about possible motives in the case, other than to rule out a robbery attempt.
Authorities in Santo Domingo offered few concrete details of their investigation, but Dominican Attorney General Jean Rodriguez said in a statement it had “advanced considerably” and that the results would be released “in a timely manner.”
Two others were wounded in the attack, including television host Jhoel Lopez, who was seated with Ortiz and who was struck in the leg by the same bullet that hit Ortiz. “It was the act of a hired killer,” Lopez, Ortiz’s spokesman, told Diario Libre, a Dominican newspaper.
Authorities originally said Garcia was the shooter, but revised that to say he was actually the driver of the motorcycle; authorities have not revealed to the AP whether the shooter is among others apprehended.
After rumors circulated on social media and in news reports that a Dominican police officer had been involved in the shooting, the Dominican National Police took the step of issuing a statement saying those reports were “categorically” false.
“Our institution has no link to the incident,” the police said in a statement.
Police Capt. Luis Manuel Pimentel told CNN that authorities intended to question Ortiz, but had not been able to yet.
Eliezer Salvador, a friend of Ortiz’s who said he drove the slugger to the hospital in the aftermath of the shooting, told the Associated Press he asked Ortiz if he knew of any enemies who would want to have him killed.
“No, my brother,” Ortiz replied, according to Salvador. “I’ve never wronged anyone.”