The director of the National Police, General Ney Aldrin Bautista Almonte shows the weapon that was used to shoot former Boston Red Sox slugger David Ortiz, during a press conference in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, June 12, 2019.
The director of the National Police, General Ney Aldrin Bautista Almonte shows the weapon that was used to shoot former Boston Red Sox slugger David Ortiz, during a press conference in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, June 12, 2019.

SANTO DOMINGO - The alleged shooter of David Ortiz has been arrested along with four others in a group offered nearly $8,000 to kill the former Boston Red Sox star at a Dominican Republic bar, authorities said on Wednesday.

The arrests came as Ortiz, 43, recovered in a Boston hospital following a second round of surgery on Tuesday, according to his family, which said he was sitting up and had taken a few steps.

The plot to kill Ortiz, a national hero in the Dominican Republic, was more complex than initially thought and involved two men on a motorcycle working with two other groups of people in cars, National Police chief Ney Aldrin Bautista Almonte told reporters.

Photos provided by the Dominican Republic National Police on Wednesday, June 12, 2019 show the suspects detained in connection with the shooting of former Red Sox star David Ortiz in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.

Dominican Republic Attorney General Jean Alain Rodriguez identified Ramon Martinez Perez as the man suspected of jumping off the back of a motorcycle on Sunday night and shooting Ortiz in the torso.
Bautista said the group was offered 400,000 Dominican pesos ($7,830) to carry out the contract killing.

"It didn't just involve two people, more people took part," Bautista told a press conference, adding that another man linked to the plot nicknamed "The Surgeon" remained at large.

Ortiz, widely known as "Big Papi," is a sports legend in Boston for his role in three World Series baseball championships as well as his profane but inspiring remarks in the days after the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing.

He retired in 2016 after hitting 541 career home runs, which ranks 17th all-time in Major League Baseball.

Ortiz was shot while seated at an open-air nightclub in Santo Domingo, the capital of his native country. Ortiz's friend Jhoel López, a television host, was wounded in the leg in the shooting.

The Dominican Republic has one of the highest murder rates in the world, with most homicides committed during robberies, according to the U.S. State Department.

Police quickly arrested the suspected motorbike driver, identified as Eddy Féliz García, who was detained and beaten by bystanders at the scene.

The high-profile attack on Ortiz drew attention to a string of deaths of U.S. citizens in the Dominican Republic in recent months, as well as violent assaults.

2nd Surgery in Boston

Ortiz underwent a first round of surgery in Santo Domingo late on Sunday before being flown the following day to Boston's Massachusetts General Hospital, where he underwent more surgery.

A trauma and acute care surgeon was leading the team treating Ortiz, his wife, Tiffany Ortiz, said in a statement on Wednesday.

FILE - World Team Manager David Ortiz (34) speaks with U.S. Team Manager Torrii Hunter, before the All-Star Futures baseball game at Nationals Park, in Washington, July 15, 2018.

On Tuesday "and this morning, David was able to sit up as well as take some steps," she said on Wednesday. "His condition is guarded and he will remain in the (intensive care unit) for the coming days, but he is making good progress towards recovery."

Féliz appeared in court on Tuesday evening, charged with being an accomplice in the attempted murder of Ortiz. His lawyer, Deivi Solano, told reporters outside the court that the judge had agreed to postpone a hearing until Wednesday afternoon.

Justina García, the mother of Féliz who remained in custody, told reporters the charges against her son were a "lie."

"They can't link it to him because he is not a criminal," she said.

Solano said his client did not shoot Ortiz, but works as a motorcycle taxi driver and may have unwittingly driven the shooter to the scene, CNN reported.

Ortiz played 20 MLB seasons, spending his first six years with the Minnesota Twins before joining the Boston Red Sox.