Woman Arrested, Suspect Dead in Connection with David Ortiz Shooting
Woman Arrested, Suspect Dead in Connection with David Ortiz Shooting in Dominican Republic Wikimedia Commons

The death of a man initially suspected to be linked to the near-fatal 2019 shooting of Boston Red Sox legend David Ortiz, along with the arrest of a 25-year-old Venezuelan woman allegedly involved in the crime, has unsettled the Dominican Republic this week.

Local authorities discovered Víctor Hugo Gómez Vásquez's body on January 10 in a town near Santo Domingo, after his family reported his disappearance in early December. They only disclosed this information this week, coinciding with the arrest of the Venezuelan woman.

In June 2019, authorities arrested Gómez after alleging that the hired hit men, meant for his cousin, mistakenly targeted Ortiz instead. The charges against him were dismissed last March. Officials have not yet confirmed his cause of death, The Boston Globe reported.

This is the second suspect in connection with Ortiz's shooting to have died. Another suspect in the case, Luis Alfredo Rivas-Clase, was shot and killed in 2021.

On Wednesday, the Dominican Republic Police announced that agents assigned to the Central National INTERPOL Office in Santo Domingo had captured 25-year-old Venezuelan Maria Fernanda Villamil Manzanilla.

She had been actively sought with a red notice since 2019, suspected to be an accomplice in the incident that resulted in injuries to former professional baseball designated hitter nicknamed "Big Papi" and television presenter Joel López Durán.

Ortiz, a three-time World Series champion with the Red Sox, was shot at close range on June 9, 2019, while at a bar in Ensanche Ozama, Santo Domingo.

The shooting inflicted severe leg injuries on Ortiz. In the months following the attack, he underwent numerous surgeries, initially in Santo Domingo and later at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.

The identity of the shooter was swiftly determined to be Rolfi Ferreira Cruz. In December 2022, he was sentenced to 30 years in prison, along with the getaway driver, Eddy Féliz García.

The country's former attorney general argued that the attack on Ortiz was a case of mistaken identity, with the shooter allegedly intending to target someone else dressed similarly to Ortiz.

However, many Dominicans found this explanation dubious, considering Ortiz's widespread fame and recognizability as one of the most prominent figures in the nation.

In a phone interview with the Boston Globe Thursday, Manuel Santos Paula, an attorney who represented two men now serving jail sentences for their roles in the shooting, described Villasmil Manzanilla as an alleged accomplice in the botched hit. "She was associated with the group."

© 2024 Latin Times. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.