Former Boston Red Sox slugger David Ortiz was hospitalized Monday following surgery for a gunshot wound after he was ambushed by a man in a bar in his native Dominican Republic, authorities said.
The 2013 World Series MVP is resting after surgery, according to his family, while police are investigating whether he was the intended target of the shooting, which also left two other people wounded. One suspect is in custody and another is at large, authorities said.
Ortiz was at the Dial Bar and Lounge in Santo Domingo around 8:50 p.m. when the gunman approached from behind and shot him, Dominican National Police Director Ney Aldrin Bautista Almonte said. Ortiz was taken to a medical facility where he underwent surgery. A spokesperson said doctors removed Ortiz's gallbladder and part of his intestine, and that his liver was also damaged, but he remained in stable condition and was expected to be flown to Boston on Monday night and taken to Massachusetts General Hospital.
Ortiz's father, Leo, told reporters outside the clinic that his son was out of danger and there wasn't any collateral damage, meaning there was no damage to major organs. He said he had no idea why someone would have shot at his son.
"He is out of surgery and stable; he is resting," Leo Ortiz said. "Big Papi will be around for a long time."
Ortiz's family notified the Red Sox that he sustained a gunshot wound to his "lower back/abdominal region" and that he is recovering after surgery, the team said in a statement early Monday.
The Red Sox said they offered the Ortiz family "all available resources to aid in his recovery" and they will continue to keep them in their hearts.
The alleged gunman was captured and beaten by a crowd of people at the bar, Bautista said. He said police are waiting until the man undergoes treatment for his injuries before questioning him.
A second assailant escaped and is still at large, said Lt. Juan de Leon with the Dominican Republic National Police.
Investigators are trying to determine whether Ortiz was the intended target, Bautista said.
Two other people were wounded, Bautista said, including Jhoel López, a Dominican TV host who was with Ortiz. Bautista said police believe López was wounded by the same bullet.
López was shot in the leg and his injuries were not life-threatening, said his wife, Liza Blanco, who is also a TV host.
Police did not identify the third person or detail that person's injuries.
The Dial Bar and Lounge is located in eastern Santo Domingo on Venezuela Avenue, a bustling nightlife district packed with dance clubs and pricey bars that Ortiz is known to frequent. Ortiz, who lives at least part of the year in the Dominican Republic, is often seen getting his cars washed and hanging out with friends including other baseball players, artists and entertainers.
The Major League Baseball Twitter account posted about the shooting late Sunday.
"Our thoughts are with David Ortiz, who is reportedly hospitalized after being shot in his hometown of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, per @Enrique_Rojas1."
Ortiz retired in 2016 after a 20-year major league career, including 14 years in Boston. The designated hitter helped the Red Sox win three World Series championships, including their first in 86 years in 2004. His number, 34, was retired by the Red Sox in 2017.
Several MLB stars took to Twitter upon hearing the news.
Former New York Yankees player Alex Rodriguez tweeted, "Anxiously waiting for more news. In the meantime, only prayers for @davidortiz, Tiffany and their family."
Los Angeles Angels player Mike Trout wrote, "Thoughts and prayers going out to @davidortiz."
Former MLB player Shane Victorino tweeted, "Prayers for my brother @davidortiz... hearing all this news is so disheartening."
Former NESN Red Sox announcer Don Orsillo posted, "Thoughts and prayers with my friend David Ortiz. #BigPapi."
Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Marcus Stroman wrote, "Prayers up for my bro @davidortiz man. One of the best human beings I've ever met. Hate seeing that. Hoping for the best!"
Los Angeles Dodgers player Justin Turner tweeted, "All the prayers for @davidortiz right now."
New York Yankees player Gleyber Torres posted, "Keeping @davidortiz in my prayers. God willing he will be okay and recover quick."
Former Red Sox player Pedro Martinez wrote, "I'm at peace knowing you out of danger; you a strong man Compai, can't wait to hear your voice. my thoughts and prayers are with you, see you soon."
Boston Celtics player Terry Rozier also took to Twitter Sunday night.
"Stay strong Legend .. the world goin out sad," he wrote.
Actor and producer Michael Chiklis tweeted, "Please be okay @davidortiz !!!"
Red Sox fans in Boston also reacted to the news Sunday night.
"I honestly think it's crazy that someone would do that to someone of such stature. They should know who he is and they should know what he means to the town and the community and the things he has done. So for that to have happened is no less than a tragedy," one fan said.
"You shouldn't have someone like David Ortiz— such a great guy, such a great player, such a great part of the whole Boston city— getting shot down by some random guy, some random act of violence."