What to Know
- Dominican Republic officials said Friday that they have arrested the mastermind behind the shooting of Red Sox legend David Ortiz.
- Police in the Dominican had said last week that the shooting of Ortiz was a case of mistaken identity and he was not the intended target.
- Twelve people have now been arrested in connection to the shooting and Ortiz's condition has been upgraded to good as he recovers in Boston.
The mastermind behind the shooting of Boston Red Sox legend David Ortiz was arrested Friday morning while he was video chatting with his family, according to officials in the Dominican Republic.
Victor Hugo Gómez was arrested in Santo Domingo, Dominican national police announced Friday. Gomez, 43, an associate of Mexico's Gulf Cartel, was identified as the mastermind behind the shooting last week. More details are expected to be released in the coming hours.
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Gomez called family in the United States via FaceTime during the arrest Friday morning so they were able to watch him be taken into custody, a Dominican police spokesman told NBC News, verifying video shared online and reported in Dominican media.
In a video shared by The Diario Libre newspaper, women yelling in Spanish, "We're watching it," and in English, "We're recording," at a phone that shows a shirtless man be taken into custody.
Gomez called his family for his own security, according to the police spokesman.
Ortiz, who is still recovering after being shot in the Dominican on June 9, was moved out of the intensive care unit at Massachusetts General Hospital last weekend.
The former Red Sox slugger was shot at a bar in Santo Domingo, the Dominican capital. Surveillance footage of the scene showed a gunman walking toward Ortiz and shooting him at close range. Dominican officials said the shooting was a case of mistaken identity and he was not the intended target.
Doctors removed Ortiz's gallbladder and part of his intestines prior to flying him to Boston for further treatment.
Dominican authorities said Gomez ordered the hit from the U.S., hiring a gang of killers to eliminate his cousin, whom Gomez suspected of turning him in to Dominican drug investigators in 2011.
The cousin, Sixto David Fernández, was seated with Ortiz at the Dial Bar and Lounge on the night of the shooting. Fernández owned an auto-repair shop and is friends with Ortiz, officials said.
Within days of the shooting, authorities detained 11 suspects, ranging from the alleged gunman to a series of drivers and minor accomplices. All of them have been ordered to spend one year in preventive prison as the investigation continues.
Police are still looking for at least three other suspects: a woman known as The Venezuelan or Red; Luis Alfredo Rivas Clase, aka The Surgeon, who is wanted for a 2018 shooting in Reading, Pennsylvania, and was believed to be driving a car used to stalk Fernández; and Alberto Miguel Rodríguez Mota, whom authorities believe paid the hit men.
Authorities have said coordinator of attack was offered 400,000 Dominican pesos, or about $7,800.
Ortiz, 43, led the Red Sox to three World Series championships, was a 10-time All Star and hit 541 home runs. The Red Sox retired his number, 34, in 2017, and he has a bridge and a stretch of road outside Fenway Park named after him. He has a home in Weston, on the outskirts of Boston, that he shared with his wife and three children before putting it up for sale.
Although he lives in Boston, Ortiz visits the Dominican Republic several times a year. His father and sister live in Santo Domingo.
Also Friday, the U.S. Marshals Service offered a reward for another man wanted in the Ortiz shooting. Luis Rivas-Clase is also suspected in an attempted killing in Pennsylvania, and may be hiding there, New Jersey or the Bronx, New York, the agency said.