Personal investigators hired by David Ortiz say a Dominican drug trafficker who was jealous and disrespectful of Ortiz shot Ortiz at a Dominican nightclub in 2019.
BOSTON – A Dominican drug trafficker who was jealous and disrespectful of David Ortiz shot him in a Dominican nightclub in 2019, according to private investigators hired to watch the Red Sox slugger attack that nearly killed him.
Former Boston Police Commissioner Edward Davis’s findings, reported by the Boston Globe on Saturday, clash with the crime theory made by Dominican prosecutors.
Davis told the newspaper he identified the drug-trafficker as Caesar Peralta, who presented him with an award on Ortiz, and arranged the shooting with the approval of the hit squad that tried to assassinate him. Dominican authorities did not cooperate in the personal investigation.
Peralta has been held in Puerto Rico without bail on charges of conspiracy to smuggle cocaine and heroin. The U.S. Treasury designated Peralta as the drug kingpin in 2019, and he was extradited to the U.S. territory in December.
Ortiz’s spokesman, Joe Bearlin, told the Globe that Davis’s search for Ortiz’s safety was halted until Peralta was in U.S. custody.
No charges have been filed against Peralta in connection with the shooting. Peralta’s lawyer, Joaquin Perez, said Peralta had nothing to do with Ortiz’s life attempts.
“As bad as Cesar Peralta is, it’s not even close to being in the ballpark that he had anything to do with it,” Perez said.
Perez described Ortiz and Peralta as “close friends.” Ortiz told The Globe that he only knew Peralta by accident and that he was “sad, confused, angry, all sorts of emotion” after receiving news from former CIA officials Davis and Rick Prado, who were involved in the investigation.
Dominican authorities say the target was Sixto David Fernandez, who was sharing a table with Ortiz when he was shot. Authorities say the injured man confused Fernandez with Ortiz, one of the most popular Dominican ball players ever.
Thirteen people have been charged in connection with the shooting of Ortiz and are awaiting trial in the Dominican Republic.
Bearlin said Ortiz was awaiting further legal action in Dominican and U.S. courts to clarify why this happened to him.
The 10-time All-Star helped Ortiz Red Sox end their 86-year championship drought in 2004 and batted .688 to win the series MVP against the St. Louis Cardinals in 2013.
Ortiz retired with 541 home runs after the 2016 season and the team retired his uniform No. 34. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in his first appearance on the ballot in January.
Ortiz maintained a home in the Boston area and lived part of the year in the Dominican Republic. He was seriously injured in the June 9, 2019 shooting. Doctors in the Dominican Republic removed Ortiz’s gallbladder and parts of his gut after the shooting, and he underwent further surgery in the United States.
Ortiz told the Globe that he wanted to know why someone wanted him to die, but “most importantly, thank God I’m alive.”