By DÁNICA COTO, Associated Press
SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic (AP) — Dominican authorities on Monday identified the man they believe paid hit men to try and kill David Ortiz, adding that they were closing in on the mastermind and motive behind the shooting of the famous slugger who is recovering at a hospital in Boston.
The man was identified as Alberto Miguel Rodríguez Mota, whom authorities say is a fugitive. The announcement was made as a judge held a hearing closed to the public for another suspect nicknamed “Bone.” Officials did not release details, but according to court documents obtained by The Associated Press, the man, whose real name is Gabriel Alexánder Pérez Vizcaíno, is accused of being the liaison between the alleged hitmen and the person who paid them.
The documents state that a man who is in prison for an unrelated case reached out to Pérez for the alleged job a week before the June 9 shooting at a bar in Santo Domingo and sent him a picture of the target so he could share it with the hit men.
Pérez allegedly shared the picture with the other suspects as they gathered at a nearby gas station just minutes before the shooting. Officials have not said whether the picture was of Ortiz.
The documents also state that Pérez sold a gold-colored iPhone 6 used to plan the attack to a woman for $180 so he could get rid of the evidence a day after the shooting. Authorities claimed the phone was giving him problems and that’s why he sold it.
“He did this upon finding out that police were looking for him,” the document states.
An attorney for Pérez did not comment upon leaving the courtroom after the hearing as police whisked away the suspect, who was wearing a red T-shirt, a flak jacket and a helmet. He did not speak to reporters.
The 24-year-old suspect is one of 10 that authorities have detained, and they are looking for at least two others mentioned in the court documents, including the man accused of paying the alleged hit men.
Ortiz’s attorney, José Martínez Hoepelman, said he was satisfied with how the investigation was going.
“Trust the authorities,” he said. “They have worked tirelessly to obtain the results that we have so far. We all want more information, but we have to wait.”
Police have said the coordinator of the attack was offered 400,000 Dominican pesos, or about $7,800, to orchestrate the shooting of Ortiz, known as Big Papi.
He led the Red Sox to three World Series championships, was a 10-time All-Star and hit 541 home runs.
Ortiz lives in Boston but visits the Dominican Republic several times a year.
Doctors removed his gallbladder and part of his intestines before he was flown to Boston, where he remains in intensive care at Massachusetts General Hospital.
Associated Press writer Martín José Adames Alcántara contributed to this report.