Dominican prosecutors identify man accused of paying for attempted hit on David Ortiz
DOMINICAN REPUBLIC — Dominican prosecutors say a fugitive suspect paid for the would-be assassins who shot David Ortiz in a murder-for-hire plot.
CNN obtained Dominican court documents Monday that reveal new details in the shooting, including the name of the person accused of paying for the attempted hit, identified as Alberto Miguel Rodriguez Mota.
Rodriguez Mota was the latest suspect to be identified in what authorities have described as a “complex” assassination plot against the beloved former Boston Red Sox slugger.
On Tuesday, an 11th suspect was arrested, a Dominican law enforcement source told CNN. The suspect’s role and other information is expected to be discussed at a press conference scheduled for Wednesday.
What we know about Alberto Miguel Rodriguez Mota’s alleged role
Police are searching for Rodriguez Mota, who faces attempted murder charges in the case.
Rodriguez Mota met with another suspect, Gabriel Alexander Perez Vizcaíno, to discuss a plan one week before Ortiz was shot, according to the indictment.
Perez Vizcaíno was the go-between for Rodriguez Mota and another suspect accused of helping orchestrate the hit from a Dominican prison, identified as Jose Eduardo Ciprián.
According to court documents, Ciprián and fellow inmate Carlos Alvarez helped coordinate the shooting and distributed a $7,800 payment to the “sicarios,” or assassins.
On the day of the shooting Ciprián is believed to have texted from his prison cell a photo of Ortiz to Perez Vizcaíno, who is also known as “El Hueso” or “The Bone,” according to the court documents.
Perez Vizcaíno then met with a “criminal group” at a gas station to show them the photo of the person they were to “liquidate,” according to the indictment.
On Monday, Perez Vizcaíno was given a year of pre-trial detention at a court hearing, according to Jose Hoopelman, an attorney for David Ortiz.
It is not clear why Rodriguez Mota would have paid nearly $8,000 to kill Ortiz or if he was acting on someone else’s behest.
How the shooting unfolded
Ortiz was sitting on a crowded bar patio in Santo Domingo the night of June 9 when a gunman walked in, pulled out a Browning Hi-Power 9mm and shot him once in the lower back.
The bullet passed through Ortiz, perforating his intestines and internal organs and hit his friend, TV talk show host Jhoel Lopez, in the leg.
The accused gunman, Rolfi Ferreira Cruz, fled the scene on foot. His alleged getaway driver, Eddy Vladimir Feliz Garcia, stalled out his motorcycle as he attempted to flee. An enraged crowd pummeled him before turning him over to police.
In addition to Rodriguez Mota, police said they also are searching for the unnamed mastermind and another suspect, Luis Alfredo Rivas-Clase, who goes by the nickname “El Cirujano,” or “The Surgeon.”
The status of the cases
The brazen shooting has left Dominicans wondering who would order a public assassination of a sports hero without apparently fearing reprisals.
So far, 11 suspects are in custody and facing charges.
Many of the accused come from poor neighborhoods and appear to be foot soldiers in an alleged plot against one of the greatest athletes the Dominican Republic has ever produced.
Several of them denied involvement as masked officers hustled them into court for a hearing on Friday. At the hearing a judge ordered nine of the suspects to remain in jail for at least a year while awaiting trial.
The alleged gunman, Ferreira Cruz, was arrested Wednesday and confessed to the shooting, prosecutors told CNN.
Ferreira Cruz told reporters he meant to shoot someone else, a claim that prosecutors say is absurd considering that Ortiz is one of the most recognizable people in the country.
Dominican officials released video that they say shows Ferreira Cruz and Garcia speaking with people inside a car parked near the club, allegedly to coordinate the attempt on Ortiz’s life. The car and another vehicle left the scene immediately after the shooting.