SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic (WHDH) — One of the suspects behind the shooting of former Boston Red Sox slugger David Ortiz at a bar in the Dominican Republic over the weekend faced a judge Tuesday on a charge of being an accomplice to attempted murder.
Ortíz was dining at the Dial Bar and Lounge in Santo Domingo, an open-air hotspot, on Sunday and had his back to the sidewalk as a gunman — a passenger on a motorcycle — got off the bike just before 9 p.m., approached the 43-year-old retired athlete and fired a single shot at close range before escaping, according to Dominican Republic National Police.
The motorcyclist, later identified as 25-year-old Eddy Feliz Garcia, was tackled by a crowd after the shooting, beaten, and handed over to the police.
Feliz Garcia, sporting cuts and bruises, was swarmed by media when he first arrived at the makeshift courthouse, prompting his police transport vehicle to drive off.
An attorney representing Feliz Garcia told 7’s Nathalie Pozo that he “feared for his client’s life,” saying that if court officials placed him in a holding cell, he would have likely been attacked.
Law in the Dominican Republic says suspects must appear in court within 48 of being taken into custody or they can be released.
Feliz Garcia was brought back to the courthouse hours later and rushed inside by an armed police escort.
Prosecutors asked Feliz Garcia be held for a year while authorities conduct an investigation. The judge said he would rule on the request on Wednesday.
Police say Ortiz was shot in the back. The bullet pierced his stomach.
Eliezar Salvador, who was at Dial Bar and Lounge at the time of the shooting, saw Ortiz on the ground and rushed to help him.
“When he fell on the ground, I said give me your hand,” he told Pozo. “I pulled him towards me and then I pushed him into my car.”
Salvador says he had to drive into other cars in order to get Ortiz to the hospital because his SUV was trapped between other vehicles.
“I would reach back, grabbing his hand and driving with the other,” Salvador said of the ride to the hospital.
Salvador told Pozo that he saw the shooter but that it wasn’t the man who was beaten by the crowd.
Doctors in Santo Domingo removed Ortiz’s gallbladder and part of his intestines. An air ambulance was sent to the island by the Red Sox and was then flown to Boston for further treatment Monday night, undergoing two hours of exploratory surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital.
Ortiz is said to be “stable, awake, and resting comfortably.”
Reports indicate Ortiz does not know Feliz Garcia, who has a criminal record involving drug trafficking.
A spokesperson for the three-time World Series champion, who is fondly called “Big Papi” by fans, doesn’t think the shooting was a robbery attempt.
The motive for the shooting is unknown.
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