Retired Red Sox icon David Ortiz underwent a second surgery at a Boston hospital for injuries suffered when he was shot in the back Sunday night at a bar in the Dominican Republic in what appeared to be a targeted ambush attack, the former baseball player’s wife said in a statement Tuesday.
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“David arrived at Massachusetts General Hospital last night and underwent a successful second surgery. He is stable, awake, and resting comfortably this morning in the ICU where he is expected to remain for the next several days,” Ortiz’s wife, Tiffany Ortiz, said in a statement.
Ortiz, 43, had been airlifted to Boston Monday night on a medical air ambulance chartered by the Red Sox. He first underwent surgery at a hospital in the Dominican Republic, where “Big Papi” was born and raised.
Tiffany Ortiz thanked the Red Sox owner, John Henry, and his wife, Linda, and the team’s management for rallying around her husband. She also expressed appreciation to Dr. Larry Ronan and his staff at Massachusetts General for caring for Ortiz.
“Lastly, I want to thank everyone for the outpouring of support and love that we have received during this incredible difficult time,” her statement reads. “We ask for privacy as David works towards recovery.”
Ortiz took his first steps since the shooting on Tuesday, Leo Lopez, his close friend and aide, told ABC News.
Shortly after he was shot, Ortiz was taken to Abel Gonzalez Center for Advanced Medicine in Santo Domingo, where he underwent his first surgery. Ortiz’s father told reporters the bullet entered his son’s back and exited through his abdomen.
Dr. Abel Gonzalez, who performed the surgery, said part of Ortiz’s intestines and liver were removed.
The shooting unfolded Sunday night at the Dial Bar and Lounge, a nightclub in Santo Domingo, the capital of the Dominican Republic.
Security camera footage acquired by ABC News shows the gunman coming up behind Ortiz and opening fire at close range. The footage shows people scattering after gunfire erupted and Ortiz, who had been sitting at the outdoor bar, appear to grab his side and then collapse.
Jhoel López, a TV host in the Dominican Republic, was speaking to Ortiz at the bar when the shooting broke out and was also injured, according to The Associated Press. Lopez suffered non-life threatening injuries when he was struck in the leg, apparently by the same bullet that hit Ortiz.
A man who allegedly confessed to playing a role in the shooting was identified by police as 25-year-old Eddy Feliz Garcia.
Garcia reportedly confessed to being involved in the shooting, according to Frank Félix Duran, a spokesman for the Dominican Republic National Police. Duran declined to elaborate on what the suspect told the police, or if he was the man seen in the video pulling the trigger.
Police are searching for a second suspect.
Garcia apparently tried to flee the nightclub after the shooting, but onlookers immediately stopped and attacked him before he was turned over to police and taken to a hospital for treatment. He was released into police custody and has yet to be charged in connection with the shooting.
On Monday night at Boston’s Fenway Park, the Red Sox and the team’s fans made it clear that their beloved “Big Papi” was in their thoughts and prayers.
Prior to the start of the Red Sox game, a moment of reflection was held for Ortiz, a 10-time All-Star and a member of three Red Sox World Series championship teams. A message reading “We send our love to David Ortiz” was flashed on one of the ballpark’s scoreboards.
Fans held up letters spelling out Ortiz’s name, and many showed up at the game wearing his No. 34 jersey.
“They talk about superheroes without capes and he’s a superhero without a cape,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora, who a former teammate of Ortiz’s in Boston, said during a pregame news conference.
Another one of Ortiz’s former Red Sox teammates, Hall of Fame pitcher Pedro Martinez, who also hails from the Dominican Republic, broke down in tears while talking about Ortiz on Monday night during a broadcast on the MLB Network.
“I don’t have enough words to describe who David is, what David means to baseball,” Martinez said on air. “But I’m so disappointed to know that someone like David, who saved so many lives, can have someone after his life. And I’m sorry. I’m sorry. But it hurts me. It hurts me.
“I just can’t take it,” Martinez added. “I’m here sitting with you guys and I’m trying to have fun, but my heart is with David, with his family, with everybody that cares about David. Because just one coward out there that wanted to do that to someone that didn’t deserve it.”
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