Dominican Republic Attorney General Jean Alain Rodríguez announced new findings Wednesday afternoon in the non-fatal shooting of Red Sox all-timer David Ortiz last month in Santo Domingo. The story, to this point, has already been fairly surprising, involving somewhere around ten co-conspirators, a “mastermind,” and a $7,800 payment for the job. Wednesday’s news, against all odds, paints an even weirder and more impossible-seeming story.
According to Rodriguez, the sequence of events that ended with one of the most recognizable baseball players in the world being shot in the back by a hired assassin climaxed with an absolutely unbelievable case of mistaken identity. Ortiz, it turns out, was shot on June 9 because he apparently looks enough like the intended target. Marly Rivera of ESPN has been reporting from the press conference:
The alleged mastermind of the “mistaken shooting” of Ortiz is a man named Víctor Hugo Gómez Vázquez, and Rodriguez says he is a member of the Gulf Cartel, a criminal syndicate based in Mexico. The intended target of the shooting, alleged to be a man named Sixto David Fernandez, was apparently seated at the same table as Ortiz at the time of the shooting, but was unharmed. According to Rodriguez, the conspirators even walked into the venue and photographed Fernandez in order to ensure a positive identification of the target. Incredibly, it sounds like Ortiz might’ve been shot because he and Fernandez were dressed similarly.
Rivera says Rodriguez is adamant that these conclusions—that Ortiz was not the intended target, and that his shooting was the result of mistaken identity—are supported by “extensive forensic evidence.” The timeline of events being described by police here is genuinely mind-boggling. The co-conspirators took a reconnaissance photo of their intended target, and showed this photo to the shooter. Later, the shooter walked into the venue, stopped within four feet of his target’s table, gripped his gun in both hands, raised it to eye level, aimed it, and then shot perhaps the most famous and beloved Dominican on the planet square in the back, by accident.