Who’s facing charges in the David Ortiz shooting investigation?
A growing number of suspects now face charges in the shooting of retired Red Sox legend David Ortiz in his native Santo Domingo.
Ortiz, 43, was shot in the back Sunday night as he sat with friends on the patio of the Dial Bar and Lounge. He continues to recover at Mass. General.
According to prosecutors, several suspects pulled up near the Dial in two cars and a motorcycle, before the shooter and another man traveled a short distance on the bike to the bar, where an attacker fired at close range at Ortiz.
Police have described the shooting as an attempted contract killing but haven’t disclosed who ordered the hit, or why. The various defendants face a range of charges including accessory to attempted murder, attempted homicide, gang activity, and gun violations.
Here’s what we know about the suspects implicated in the brazen ambush:
Rolfi Ferreras Cruz — Cruz, 25, is the alleged gunman, and officials say he confessed to shooting Ortiz after his arrest.
His family told the newspaper Listin Diario that several people claim they saw Cruz in a neighborhood far from the shooting at the time of the attack.
But the news site Diario Libre posted a video clip that appears to show Cruz saying from lockup that the bullet wasn’t meant for Ortiz, and that they were confused by his clothes, according to Diario Libre and a WBZ-TV reporter who viewed the footage.
On Thursday, the prominent Dominican hip-hop artist Secreto, who was with Ortiz during the attack, said via Instagram that he ran because he thought the shooter was aiming for him.
Cruz also has a criminal history in the United States.
New Jersey prosecutors said Thursday that Cruz is charged with multiple counts of armed robbery and illegal firearm counts stemming from two muggings in December 2017 in Clifton, N.J.
Clifton police say Cruz was one of our four masked men who brandished handguns and robbed two men as they walked down the street.
Cruz’s grandmother told the newspaper Listin Diario that he was a quiet child who worked on banana farms as a youth, but he changed when his father took him to live in the United States three years ago. He returned to the Dominican Republic about a month ago, his grandmother told the paper.
Eddy Vladimir Feliz Garcia — Garcia, 23, allegedly drove Cruz to the Dial on his motorcycle. Garcia’s lawyer has said his client, a motorcycle taxi driver, unwittingly picked up Cruz as a fare. But prosecutors say witness statements and video footage place Garcia with the other suspects the day before the shooting and shortly before the attack Sunday.
Garcia fell off his motorbike as he tried to escape with Cruz and was pummeled by civilians before his arrest. He’s also an aspiring rapper who performs under the moniker El Nata MC, according to his Instagram page.
Jose Eduardo Ciprian Lebron — Lebron has been jailed for two years on murder charges in an unrelated case. Authorities are investigating whether Lebron planned the attack, according to two people briefed on the probe. One person said police are investigating whether Lebron played a role in arranging the $7,800 payout to the alleged hit team.
Carlos Rafael Alvarez — Alvarez is currently serving a 20-year sentence for aggravated robbery. Bella Brea, his lawyer, said Thursday that investigators told her they have evidence that Alvarez spoke with some of the other suspects. She did not offer further details.
Oliver Moises Mirabal Acosta — Prosecutors say Acosta was in one of the cars that carried the suspects to the spot near the Dial, and that he took possession of the gun after the attack, before handing the weapon off to another suspect.
He has a violent criminal past in the Dominican Republic.
Acosta was one of several men accused of participating in the execution of at least four people in January 2013 in “El Pentagono,” a drug-dealing area in the town of Las Palmas de Herrera, according to Listin Diario.
Those 2013 killings were linked, the newspaper said, to a drug trafficking gang. Acosta ultimately received a five-year prison term for gun offenses.
Several news outlets have reported that Acosta is the nephew of well-known Dominican sports commentator Franklin Mirabal. In an Instagram post, Franklin Mirabal did not deny a familial link but said he didn’t know Acosta and has no contact with two of his own brothers, who have had brushes with the law. Mirabal stressed that he fully supports David Ortiz.
Polfirio Allende Dechamps Vasquez — Authorities say Vasquez was also in one of the cars near the Dial and later took the gun from Acosta before burying it on his property. Investigators recovered the gun.
Luis Rivas-Clase — Rivas-Clase, 31, also known as “The Surgeon,” allegedly participated in the shooting and remains at large. He has ties to Reading, Pa., where he allegedly ordered two underlings to kill a man on April 22, 2018, police said.
The victim, who was shot in the groin but survived, told authorities that Rivas-Clase had threatened to kill him several days earlier if he did not leave town, said Reading’s deputy police chief, Osborne Robinson.
Robinson described Rivas-Clase as “the boss” of a local criminal enterprise and said he remains a fugitive from charges of conspiracy to commit attempted homicide.
“We have no reason to believe that the case that we have Luis charged for has anything to do with the case in the Dominican Republic,” Robinson said Thursday.
Rivas-Clase also has a criminal history in Paterson, N.J., where he was charged in 2016 with unlawful possession of a machine gun and a high-capacity magazine, according to the Passaic County sheriff’s office.
Authorities in the Dominican Republic have urged Rivas-Clase to turn himself in and have asked the public for any information about his whereabouts.
More suspects — Officials have identified additional alleged co-conspirators as Joel Rodriguez Cruz, Reynaldo Rodriguez Valenzuela, Lanny Estefanny Pérez Reyes, and Joel Rodríguez de la Cruz.