Boston Red Sox legend David Ortiz is recovering in intensive care at a Dominican Republic hospital early Monday after he was reportedly shot in an ambush at a Santo Domingo disco.
Dominican National Police Director Ney Aldrin Bautista Almonte told ABC News’ Boston affiliate, WCVB, that a gunman approached Ortiz from behind at the Dial Bar and Lounge just before 9 p.m. and opened fire. ESPN said a local sports reporter, Dionisio Soldevila, was told by a doctor that the bullet entered Ortiz’s lower back and exited through his abdomen.
On Twitter, Soldevila said the doctor told him the 10-time All-Star and father of three, known to teammates and fans as Big Papi, said: “Please don’t let me die. I’m a good man.”
The suspect was identified by Dominican officials as Eddy Feliz Garcia, 25. Bautista Almonte told the ABC affiliate that he was captured and beaten by a crowd in the busy Santo Domingo party district after the attack on the beloved native superstar.
ESPN reports Dominican national-health officials confirmed Garcia suffered a cranium contusion, trauma to his thorax, trauma on his left knee, and trauma on his right leg, but was treated and released to police custody early Monday.
It is not known if Ortiz was the intended target.
On Monday morning, Ortiz’s media rep, Leo Lopez, told reporters a team of three surgeons operated for six hours on the 2013 World Series MVP and removed part of his intestines and colon, as well as his gallbladder. He told ESPN that Ortiz had sustained liver damage from the gunshot wound.
“Doctors say he is out of danger, but he is heavily sedated and will be in intensive care for the next 24 hours,” Lopez told ESPN.
Ortiz’s relieved father Leo said doctors told him the bullet had not hit major organs or arteries and were anticipating a full recovery for the future Hall of Famer.
“He is out of surgery and stable; he is resting,” Leo Ortiz told the AP. “Big Papi will be around for a long time.”
Ortiz, 43, spent 14 years with the Red Sox. He retired in 2016 after warm city-by-city accolades, after a career with 541 home runs and three World Series rings with Boston.
Dominican media reported that a television personality, Jhoel Lopez, was also shot in the club. Hours earlier, he had posted a photo of himself with Ortiz on Instagram.
A Dominican newspaper, El Nuevo Diario, posted to Twitter security video that it said captured the moment the shot had been fired inside the crowded lounge. The footage appeared to show a man walk up to Ortiz from behind and shoot him in the back, knocking him from his chair.
The Boston Red Sox posted their support for their former slugger, who has become a baseball ambassador in his retirement.
“We have offered David’s family all available resources to aid in his recovery and will continue to keep them in our hearts,” it reads.
His friend and former teammate Pedro Martinez posted an emotional tweet near midnight, with a photo showing him embracing his fellow Dominican.
“I’m at peace knowing you out of danger; you a strong man Compai, can’t wait to hear your voice. My thoughts and prayers are with you, see you soon.”