Hall of Famer David Ortiz was targeted by drug kingpin in 2019 shooting, investigation finds

Boston Red Sox great David Ortiz was targeted by drug kingpin César “The Abuser” Peralta in the June 2019 shooting that sent the Hall of Famer to the hospital for nearly 50 days, a private investigation by former Boston police commissioner Ed Davis found, according to Bob Hohler of the Boston Globe. Ortiz was shot point-blank in the back at a club in the Dominican Republic.

“Peralta said he had David shot,” Davis said, citing information gathered by US law enforcement officials. Officials in the Dominican Republic originally said it was a case of mistaken identity and that the intended target was one of Ortiz’s friends who was believed to be an informant.

Ortiz denies having more than a casual relationship with Peralta, according to the Boston Globe report, though Joaquin Perez, Peralta’s attorney, said the two men are “close friends.” Peralta is said to have felt disrespected by Ortiz and wanted him dead. Here are more details from the Boston Globe:

Ortiz, in a phone call from the Dominican Republic, said he was “sad, confused, angry, all kinds of emotions” when he received the news from Davis, whom he hired to conduct the investigation, and Ric Prado, a former high- ranking CIA official who participated in the inquiry.

Davis’ findings contradictory narratives presented by Dominican law enforcement officials. They first alleged that an unspecified person with an unknown motive placed a bounty on Ortiz. They quickly abandoned the theory, however, and chalked up the shooting to a case of mistaken identity, without ever implicating Peralta.

Victor Hugo Gomez, allegedly a member of a Mexican drug cartel, was detained in connection to the shooting in 2019. Gomez is one of 13 suspects awaiting trial in the case.

Peralta was a fugitive from US charges and living in the Dominican Republic at the time of the shooting. His network was raided later that year and Peralta was eventually captured in Colombia in 2020. He has since been extradited to Puerto Rico. The motive behind the shooting remains unclear.

Ortiz, 46, became the fourth Dominican player voted into the Hall of Fame earlier this year. He has made a full recovery since the shooting and returned to Fenway Park for the first time in Sept. 2019.

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