Gunman, 9 others convicted in near-fatal shooting of Red Sox legend David Ortiz

A Dominican court has convicted 10 people linked to the 2019 attempted murder of legendary Boston Red Sox slugger David Ortiz, authorities confirmed Tuesday.

A man ambushed the baseball Hall of Famer and shot him in the back while Ortiz was at a bar with friends in Santo Domingo.

Two men, including alleged shooter Rolfi Ferreras Cruz, were each sentenced to 30 years in prison by Santo Domingo’s First Collegiate Court.

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David Ortiz before Game 3 of the National League Championship Series between the San Diego Padres and the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park on Oct. 21, 2022, in Philadelphia.

David Ortiz before Game 3 of the National League Championship Series between the San Diego Padres and the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park on Oct. 21, 2022, in Philadelphia.
(Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

Víctor Hugo Gómez Vásquez, the alleged mastermind behind the attack, was acquitted along with two other defendants due to lack of sufficient evidence.

Eight others received prison terms of between five and 20 years.

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Alberto Miguel Rodriguez Mota, 28, was sentenced to 20 years. Rodriguez Mota is “the person who paid those who carried out the act” against Ortiz, according to the Attorney General of the Dominican Republic.

Oliver Moises Mirabal, 28, and Eduardo Ciprian Lebron, 24, each received ten years in prison.

Gabriel Alexander Perez Vizcaino (31) and Joel Rodriguez de la Cruz (28) were sentenced to nine and six years respectively.

Franklin Junior Meran, 26, Junior Cesar La Hoz Vargas, 28, and Porfirio Ayendi Dechamps Vasquez, 29, received five years in prison.

The convictions included charges of attempted murder, conspiracy to possess and use illegal firearms and association with criminals.

In this July 26, 2016 photo, Boston Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz and Detroit Tigers catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia watch on the fly to Ortiz's three-run home run.

In this July 26, 2016 photo, Boston Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz and Detroit Tigers catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia watch on the fly to Ortiz’s three-run home run.
(AP Photo/Charles Krupa, File)

Ortiz retained the services of US-based private investigators who eventually determined that the former baseball player was targeted by a Dominican drug trafficker whose motive stemmed from jealousy.

Former Boston Police Commissioner Edward Davis’ findings were notably different from law enforcement in the Dominican Republic’s theory.

Dominican authorities believed a hitman was actually hired to shoot Ortiz’s cousin Sixto David Fernandez. Ortiz and Fernandez shared a table at the time of the shooting.

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Dominican law enforcement has also previously noted that the hitmen mistook Fernandez for Ortiz, even though the three-time world champion is one of the country’s most beloved and recognizable figures.

Ortiz, affectionately known as “Big Papi,” is a 10-time MLB All-Star and hit 541 home runs in a career spanning two decades. He retired in 2016.

Baseball Hall of Fame inductee David Ortiz speaks to reporters during a news conference following his orientation tour of the Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum on May 2, 2022, in Cooperstown, NY

Baseball Hall of Fame inductee David Ortiz speaks to reporters during a news conference following his orientation tour of the Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum on May 2, 2022, in Cooperstown, NY
(AP Photo/Hans Pennink)

At the time of the shooting, Ortiz spent part of the year in his native Dominican Republic.

The shooting left Ortiz seriously injured. Doctors removed his gallbladder and part of an intestine. He later returned to the United States, where he underwent further operations.

The 10 convicts are also required to pay a fee for damages caused, according to the attorney general’s office.

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Further details of the sentencing will be released on February 8, 2023, the authorities said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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