David Ortiz was shot at baseball hall of fame in 2019 on the orders of a Dominican drug lord who felt disrespected by the bazaar and wanted him killed, a six-month investigation into the botched strike revealed.
The former Red Sox player was shot in the back at a Santo Domingo bar with TV host Jhoel López.
Thirteen suspects were awaiting trial in connection with the non-fatal shootings, and the alleged mastermind of the crew linked to the gang was killed last fall.
A private investigator report commissioned by Ortiz found that Cesar “The Abuser” Peralta placed a bounty on the ball player’s head after a series of interactions with Ortiz that left the politically connected drug lord feeling humiliated, the Boston Globe reported Saturday.
The finding, which Peralta’s attorney denied, contradicted investigators from the Circle of Democracy, who had assumed the shooting was a case of mistaken identity. The special investigation was conducted by former Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis and Rick Prado, a former CIA official.
The newspaper said the conflicting reports left Ortiz feeling “sad, confused, angry and all kinds of emotions”.
“I accept what Ed and Rick are telling me, but how has no one in the Dominican justice system told me this way?” Ortiz reportedly said. “Rather, the opposite is true.”
The Globe reported that Ortiz hired Davis and Prado to look into the incident in 2019 after becoming concerned about the integrity of the Dr.’s case. The public prosecutor who led the investigation has since been imprisoned on unrelated corruption charges.
Honestly, when you live in a country with corrupt justice, you want to believe [what the government alleges] But you will also differ, which is what was happening at the time,” Ortiz reportedly said.
Ortiz told the newspaper that his relationship with Peralta was “passing”. The suspect was extradited to the United States from Colombia in December to face drug trafficking charges in Puerto Rico, according to federal offices.
Private investigators have reportedly found that Peralta’s alleged motive for trying to kill Ortiz stemmed from jealousy and perceived insults.
When Oritz retired in 2016, he became a fixture on the Santo Domingo nightclub scene and frequented several drug dealer-owned establishments, according to the article.
Peralta greeted the designated hitter and posed for photos with him, but eventually became jealous of the attention Ortiz would get while at his clubs, and Davis and Prado reportedly found.
At one point, Ortiz lived just below Peralta in a luxury apartment building in Santo Domingo and complained about a noisy late-night party at Peralta’s house, which insulted him, investigators believe.
The 5-foot-5 drug dealer was also said to have been offended that the apartment building had become known by locals as “Big Papi Tower”.
“Like other dignitaries, Peralta’s ego is too great to stand the usurpation of his power,” Prado told the Globe.
He was “the king of the streets, the king of clubs, and the biggest shark in the water. If anyone tries to seize that power, consciously or unconsciously, he will take it personally.”
Ortiz said his confidence in Dominican officials had been restored since new elections were held, but he was troubled by the disconnect between their findings and those of his investigators.
“I am in a difficult situation because we are dealing with some very dangerous people,” Ortiz reportedly said. “I am sure this man is now in prison thinking about what he will say or do. I am not planning to live my life in secret.”