Baseball Hall of Famer David Ortiz was shot in 2019 at the order of a Dominican drug lord who felt disrespected by the slugger and wanted him dead, a six-month investigation into the botched hit revealed.
The former Red Sox slugger was shot in the back at a Santo Domingo bar along with TV host Jhoel López.
Thirteen suspects were awaiting trial in connection with the non-fatal shootings, and the alleged mastermind of the gang-affiliated crew was murdered last fall.
A private investigator report commissioned by Ortiz found that César “The Abuser” Peralta had put a bounty on the ballplayer’s head following a series of interactions with Ortiz that left the politically connected drug kingpin feeling slighted, the Boston Globe reported Saturday.
The finding, which was denied by Peralta’s lawyer, contradicted investigators from the DR, who had theorized that the shooting was a case of mistaken identity. The private investigation was conducted by former Boston police Commissioner Ed Davis and Ric Prado, a former CIA official.
The conflicting reports left Ortiz feeling “sad, confused, angry, all kinds of emotions,” according to the newspaper.
“I accept what Ed and Ric are telling me, but how come no one in the Dominican justice system has told me this is how it went down?” Ortiz reportedly said. “Instead, it’s the opposite.”
Ortiz hired Davis and Prado to look into the incident in 2019 after being concerned about the integrity of the DR’s case, the Globe reported. The prosecutor who led the investigation has since been jailed on unrelated corruption charges.
“To be honest, when you live in a country where justice is corrupted, you want to believe [what the government alleges] but you also will disagree, and that was what was going on at the time,” Ortiz reportedly said.
Ortiz told the newspaper his relationship with Peralta was “casual.” The suspect was extradited to the US from Columbia in December to face drug trafficking charges in Puerto Rico, according to the feds.
The private investigators reportedly found that Peralta’s alleged motive for trying to kill Ortiz stemmed from jealousy and perceived slights.
When Oritz retired in 2016, he became a fixture on the Santo Domingo nightclub scene and frequented many establishments owned by the drug dealer, according to the article.
Peralta would greet the designated hitter and pose for pictures with him, but ultimately became envious of the attention Ortiz would receive while in his clubs, Davis and Prado reportedly found.
At one point Ortiz lived right below Peralta in a luxury condominium building in Santo Domingo and complained about a loud late-night party in Peralta’s home, which insulted him, investigators believe.
The 5-foot-5 drug dealer was also said to be offended that the apartment building came to be known by locals as “the Big Papi Tower.”
“Like other big-time hoods, Peralta’s ego is so big that he could not afford to have his power usurped,” Prado told the Globe.
He “was the king of the streets, the king of the clubs, and the biggest shark in the water. If anybody tried to usurp that power, consciously or unconsciously, he would take it personally.”
Ortiz said his trust in Dominican officials has been restored since a new election was held, but he was ranked by the disconnect between their findings and the conclusions of his investigators.
“I’m in a tough spot because we’re dealing with some dangerous people,” Ortiz reportedly said. “I’m pretty sure this guy is sitting in jail right now thinking about what he is going to say or going to do. I’m not planning on living my life in hiding.”