Eddy Feliz Garcia was named by Dominican Republic federal police as one of two suspects in the shooting of former Boston Red Sox slugger David Ortiz. The suspects are accused of showing up on a motorcycle before one of them leapt from it and ambushed the baseball star.
El Dia reported that, according to National Police, Garcia is accused of being the driver of the motorcycle carrying the triggerman, who is still at large. A second suspect has been arrested, but it’s unclear whether that person is the gunman. Suspect two was named as Oliver Mirabal. Garcia was charged as an “accomplice to attempted murder.”
Police now say that the shooting was a hit with at least six suspects involved and paid $7,800, the Associated Press is reporting; however, authorities still have not specified the motive or mastermind for the attack. They also arrested a man named Rolfy Ferreyra Cruz in connection with the shooting.
Ortiz, who retired in 2016, was shot as he frequented a club in the Dominican Republic on June 9, 2019. “Big Papi,” as he is known, was reportedly in stable condition, and Garcia was arrested after he was beaten and handed over by the crowd. One journalist claimed that Ortiz said to an ER doctor: “Please don’t let me die. I’m a good man.” Video captured the moment that Ortiz was shot; although grainy, the video is disturbing because of the moment it captures.
ESPN reported on June 9 that the former baseball star is out of danger. However, on June 10, Listin Diario quoted Ortiz’s spokesman as saying: “They had to remove part of the intestines and removed the gallbladder,” adding that the bullet pierced Ortiz’s liver, which was bleeding.
Garcia is 23-years-old. Police say he’s in custody after he was captured (and beaten by) the crowd. The second suspect fled. The Red Sox are flying Ortiz to Boston for additional treatment.
Garcia’s family told NBC 10 Boston that he’s a fan of Ortiz and had nothing to do with the shooting.
Ortiz’s assistant, Leo Lopez, told Diario Libre that the shooting was “an act of hired killers.” However, he rejected claims by the British publication Daily Mail that the hit was motivated by jealousy involving a woman, according to the publication (those are claims not confirmed by authorities).
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Police Say Ortiz Was Ambushed by a Gunman Who Arrived on a Motorcycle But His Lawyer Denies He Knew About the Shooting
The identification of Eddy Feliz Garcia as a suspect in the shooting came from the National Police, according to WUSA9. Dominican National Police confirmed to CNN that Ortiz was shot “by a motorcyclist who approached Ortiz directly.”
However, Garcia’s lawyer told NBC 10 that he had just picked up a “fare” on his motorcycle and had no idea the man was going to shoot Ortiz. “He didn’t know what they were going to do. He’s a fan of David’s,” the lawyer told the Boston TV station.
CNN reported, though, that more than one suspect was involved, and it wasn’t clear whether the motorcyclist was in custody (videos of the suspect being beaten and of Ortiz being shot appear to show a suspect possibly wearing different shirts, although the latter video is grainy.)
According to CNN, a suspect was hospitalized. The network was not clear as to whether the hospitalized suspect was the triggerman on the motorcycle or was involved in another way. However, police later said they think Garcia was the getaway driver. Local outlet Listin Diario also reported that there may have been two suspects on the motorcycle, something later confirmed by a police news release.
The Chicago Tribune reported that Ortiz “was ambushed by a man who got off a motorcycle and shot him in the back at nearly point-blank range,” attributing the information to Dominican National Police Director Ney Aldrin Bautista, who said the gunman “approached from behind and shot” Ortiz.
Baustista added that “the gunman was captured and beaten by a crowd of people,” and that police were trying to determine whether Ortiz was the target, the Tribune reported.
The official press release from the National Police states that members of the Scientific Police are working to establish the sequence of events and to establish “if in the fact there are others involved.”
“The authorities have in their possession a motorcycle Bajaj Platina, in which the people involved moved, whose origin is investigated,” the release says in Spanish.
There are two suspects, according to the release, which says that “two young men showed up on the aforementioned motorcycle.”
“One of the occupants of the motorcycle approached the amusement center and made a single shot that hit the former player and his companion, after which they tried to escape on the motorcycle, falling to the pavement,” the release adds.
“One of the involved managed to escape on foot, while another, identified as Eddy Vladimir Felix Garcia, was arrested by the crowd that hit him and handed over to the authorities.”
2. Robbery Was Not the Motive for the Shooting & Garcia Has a Drug History, Police Say
Garcia has a drug history, police revealed in the release, saying: “The detainee, Felix Garcia, who resides in the sector of Las Caobas, Santo Domingo Oeste, and who appears with a registry for possession of drugs in 2017, suffered blows and injuries that caused him to people who were in the place, reason why He was transferred to the Doctor Dario Contreras hospital.”
Bautista ruled out robbery as a motive, reports say. The shooting unfolded at the Dial Discotheque in Santo Domingo. What the motive then was for ambushing a popular baseball player in a public establishment and shooting him is so far unclear.
Dominican journalist Edith Febles reported that the suspect’s full name is Eddy Vladimir Feliz García and that he was “detained for the aggression against David Ortiz” and “has 25 years and police records for drug matters.”
Dominican Republic police said the motive for the shooting remains under investigation. “Our thoughts are with David Ortiz, who is reportedly hospitalized after being shot in his hometown of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic,” MLB tweeted.
3. Videos Appeared to Show the Suspect Being Beaten at the Scene
David Ortiz is a hero in the Dominican Republic, where baseball is valued and a player of his caliber a standout even among a lot of excellent players. Thus, the suspect didn’t fare very well at the scene.
Graphic videos appeared to show the suspect, bloodied, after being pummeled by angry locals. A photo that circulated on the Twitter pages of local journalists also showed a man reported to be Eddy Feliz Garcia with a wounded face.
The above tweet was posted by Dionisio Soldevila, described by ESPN as “a reporter from the Dominican who hosts a radio show with ESPN’s Enrique Rojas.” Soldevila wrote in the tweet, “Eddy Feliz Garcia, who shot David Ortiz, according to National police.”
Videos showing the purported suspect in the David Ortiz shooting were published on the Instagram page of producer Santiago Matias Garcia.
“Video of one of the alleged participants in the shooting where star David Ortiz was injured,” he wrote in Spanish.
CNN confirmed that a suspect “was hit and attacked by bystanders immediately after Ortiz was shot” and said that the suspect was being treated at the hospital.
4. Ortiz’s Father Confirmed That He Was Shot But the Bullet Missed Key Organs
David Ortiz’s father confirmed the shooting of the baseball great. “They called me to tell me that David is injured and that they took him to a medical center, but they did not tell me how he is or exactly where he was transferred,” Ortiz’s father, Leo, told ESPN.
Journalist Soldevila later reported: “David Ortiz’s father says David is already at rest, there were no affected organs and total recovery is expected.” However, reports the next day, June 10, made the situation sound more serious as Ortiz, although out of surgery, was in the intensive care unit, Listin Diario reported.
Early reports said that David Ortiz was shot in the leg. However, later reports indicated he was shot in the back, with an exit wound through the stomach, as he frequented the East Santo Domingo club.
El Dia reported: “The renowned former player was with a group of friends in the center of fun when the person so far unidentified entered and shot him. After being injured in one leg, Ortíz was transferred to the Integral Medical Center in the Eastern Zone, where he received first aid.” ESPN reported, though, that Ortiz “was shot in the lower back and that the bullet went through and came out his stomach.” According to ESPN, the information about the wound being in the back/stomach was later information.
5. Early Accounts of the Shooting Conflicted
Listin Diario reported that “video footage shows a man, with a bloody face.” The newspaper says the suspect was “presumably sitting near Ortiz” and “stood up from his seat and shot Ortiz in the pelvis.”
Another version reported that “some individuals dismounted to shoot at a person, but the shot hit Ortiz. Reportedly, the shot was made by one of two men, who were traveling on a motorcycle. One of the assailants was beaten by civilians who were in the place and is imprisoned.”
This article is being updated as more information is learned about the suspect.