Suspect in shooting of Red Sox legend David Ortiz in custody
A man detained following the shooting of Red Sox all-star David Ortiz in the Dominican Republic appeared in court late Tuesday on a charge of being an accomplice to the attempted murder of the former baseball player.
Eddy Vladimir Féliz Garcia was held by police in connection with the shooting of Ortiz at a nightclub Sunday night.
Prosecutors asked that he be held in custody for a year of pre-trial detention. But defense attorney, Bunel Ramírez Merán, told CNN after the court hearing that he argued against his client being held on pre-trial detention, instead requesting the judge postpone the decision so defense lawyers could gather relevant evidence.
Merán said he plans to demonstrate to the court his client would not present a flight risk due to his “family, social and work ties.”
The judge said he would rule on the prosecution request Wednesday.
A second suspect was arrested Tuesday evening, the Boston Globe reported, citing a person briefed on the investigation.
Ortiz and a friend were shot Sunday night at the Dial nightclub in Santo Domingo.
Ortiz, 43, was struck in the back, and “the bullet went through his stomach,” Felix Durán Mejia, a spokesman for the Dominican Republic National Police, told CNN. Ortiz is recovering at Boston’s Massachusetts General Hospital.
Féliz García and a second man arrived at the nightclub on a motorcycle before one of them opened fire, police said. The two tried to drive away after the shooting, but the motorcycle fell to the pavement, police said.
A crowd attacked Féliz García and handed him over to police. Deivi Solano, Féliz Garcia’s attorney, said his client is a motorcycle taxi driver and may have unwittingly driven the shooter, but he did not shoot Ortiz.
Justina Garcia, the suspect’s mother, said her son is innocent.
“We really like him, and my son and I are fans of his,” Justina Garcia told CNN. “My son had nothing to do with this.”
Justina Garcia said she wants police to provide security for her son because she fears for his safety.
Féliz García, who has a 2017 drug charge, lives in West Santo Domingo.
On Monday, the Red Sox sent a plane to carry the retired star, a married father of three, to Boston from the Dominican Republic.
Strides in his recovery
Ortiz took his first steps on Tuesday afternoon after undergoing a second surgery to address his injuries.
Earlier on Tuesday, Tiffany Ortiz said her husband was “stable, awake, and resting comfortably” in Mass General’s intensive care unit, “where he is expected to remain for the next several days,” according to a statement released by the Major League Baseball club.
David Ortiz, also known as Big Papi, was raised in Santo Domingo and made his Major League Baseball debut in 1997. A first baseman and designated hitter, Ortiz played 20 seasons before retiring in 2016.
He is best known for his 14 seasons in Boston as the Red Sox’s designated hitter.
In 2004, Ortiz helped the Red Sox win their first championship since 1918, ending the “Curse of the Bambino.” Fans, mostly tongue-in-cheek, blamed the team’s decades-long championship drought on the 1919 decision to trade legend Babe Ruth, aka the Bambino, to the rival New York Yankees.
Ortiz played on the Red Sox World Series championship teams of 2007 and 2013. He was named World Series MVP in 2013.
He is beloved in Boston for many reasons, including his charitable work through his foundation and his love for the city.
Ortiz emerged as a champion for the city in the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombings that killed three people and wounded more than 200 others in 2013.
“This jersey that we wear today, it doesn’t say Red Sox. It says Boston,” he said, standing on the infield as the crowd cheered police officers on the field.
“This is our f***ing city, and nobody’s going to dictate our freedom. Stay strong,” Ortiz said.
CNN’s Patrick Oppman reported from Santo Domingo and Darran Simon reported and wrote in Atlanta. CNN’s Faith Karimi contributed to this report