SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic — The country’s leading law enforcement official announced Wednesday that Red Sox legend David Ortiz was not the intended target of a shooting at a nightclub earlier this month that left him with a gunshot wound from which he is still recovering.
Dominican Attorney General Jean Alain Rodriguez said at an evening press conference that the target was another individual who was at the Dial Bar and Lounge, sitting at the same table as Ortiz on the evening of June 9. He said that evidence suggests the intended target was David Fernandez, whom he described as Ortiz’s friend.
Ortiz, according to Rodriguez, was the victim of a “cowardly attack.” He said investigators worked tirelessly to find the masterminds behind the shooting. Rodriguez said Wednesday he interviewed Ortiz the day following the shooting and asked the retired slugger who would want to hurt him. Ortiz told him that he was not aware of any threats made against him.
Ortiz, 43, continues to recuperate at Massachusetts General Hospital after being shot in the lower back. Leo Lopez, a spokesman for Ortiz, said Wednesday that Ortiz has begun walking.
Law enforcement officials have not publicly disclosed who ordered the hit or why. Before Wednesday’s announcement, unsubstantiated stories about the incident have proliferated on social media and in tabloid newspapers.
José Martínez Hoepelman, a lawyer for Ortiz, said Tuesday that the revered former slugger is “innocent in what happened. He has no connection to illicit activities, no relationships with people who have criminal connections, nor has he violated his family values that would bring about such an incident.”
Ortiz was shot at close range as he sat with friends on the patio of the Dial Bar and Lounge, located in Santo Domingo, on the evening of June 9, in what police have described as an attempted contract killing. Eleven people, including the alleged gunman, are in custody for their suspected roles in the plot, and additional suspects remain at large.
Authorities had previously said the conspirators were hired to kill Ortiz for approximately $7,800.
On Tuesday, Ortiz’s wife, Tiffany, said that her husband’s condition had been upgraded to good.
In a statement, she said her family remains “grateful to everyone who has helped David through this ordeal, both in the Dominican Republic and here in Boston. David’s journey to good health has been bolstered by the many expressions of love that have come to us from across the globe. Your support has lifted his spirits tremendously during this challenging time.”
Maria Cramer and Michael Levenson of the Globe staff contributed to this report.