SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic — Dominican authorities identified the man they believe paid hit men to try and kill David Ortiz, adding that they were closing in on the mastermind and the motive behind the shooting of the famous slugger who is recovering at a hospital in Boston.
The man was identified on Monday as Alberto Miguel Rodríguez Mota, whom authorities said is a fugitive. The announcement was made as a judge held a hearing closed to the public for another suspect nicknamed “Bone.” Officials did not release details, but according to court documents obtained by The Associated Press, the man, whose real name is Gabriel Alexánder Pérez Vizcaíno, is accused of being the liaison between the alleged hit men and the person who paid them.
An 11th person was arrested on Tuesday, the authorities said. An official identified the suspect as Franklin Junior Merán. The official, who agreed to disclose the information only if not quoted by name because they weren’t authorized to discuss the case publicly, told The Associated Press that Merán had been accused of renting one of the cars used in the June 9 shooting at a bar in Santo Domingo.
The newest arrest came as doctors at Massachusetts General Hospital upgraded Ortiz’s condition from “guarded” to “good.” The Red Sox issued a statement Tuesday on behalf of his wife, Tiffany Ortiz, who said he continues to make progress and “we remain grateful to everyone who has helped David through this ordeal.”
The court documents obtained Monday state that a man who is in prison for an unrelated case reached out to Pérez about the alleged job a week before the June 9 shooting at a bar in Santo Domingo and sent him a picture of the target so he could share it with the hit men.
Pérez allegedly shared the picture with the other suspects as they gathered at a nearby gas station just minutes before the shooting. Officials have not said whether the picture was of Ortiz.
The documents also state that Pérez sold a gold-colored iPhone 6 used to plan the attack to a woman for $180 so he could get rid of the evidence a day after the shooting. Authorities claimed the phone was giving him problems and that’s why he sold it.
“He did this upon finding out that police were looking for him,” the document states.
An attorney for Pérez did not comment upon leaving the courtroom after the hearing as police whisked away the suspect, who was wearing a red T-shirt, a flak jacket and a helmet. He did not speak to reporters.
Ten other suspects have already been ordered to spend a year in preventive detention as the investigation continues, including the alleged shooter. The authorities say they are looking for at least three other suspects, including the man they believe paid the hit men.
Ortiz’s lawyer, José Martínez Hoepelman, said he was satisfied with how the investigation was going.
“Trust the authorities,” he said. “They have worked tirelessly to obtain the results that we have so far. We all want more information, but we have to wait.”
Police have said the coordinator of the attack was offered 400,000 Dominican pesos, or about $7,800, to orchestrate the shooting of Ortiz.
Ortiz lives in Boston but visits the Dominican Republic several times a year.