Former Red Sox slugger David Ortiz shot in ambush attack

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By Associated Press and Michelle Acevedo  with NBC News World News
Image: David Ortiz in 2016
David Ortiz celebrates after hitting a home run against the Baltimore Orioles at Fenway Park in 2016.   -  Copyright  Maddie Meyer

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic — Former Boston Red Sox slugger David Ortiz was ambushed by a man who got off a motorcycle and shot him in the back at close range Sunday night in his native Dominican Republic, authorities said.

Dominican National Police Director Ney Aldrin Bautista Almonte 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. Ortiz later underwent surgery, and his condition was stable, according to Bautista.

Ortiz's father, Leo, speaking to reporters outside the clinic, said his son was out of danger and 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."

David Ortiz poses for a selfie with President Barack Obama during a ceremony to honor the 2013 World Series champion Boston Red Sox at the White House on April 1, 2014.
David Ortiz poses for a selfie with President Barack Obama during a ceremony to honor the 2013 World Series champion Boston Red Sox at the White House on April 1, 2014.Win McNamee

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.

Investigators are trying to determine whether Ortiz was the intended target, Bautista said.

Two other people were wounded, Bautista said.

In a statement early Monday, the Boston Red Sox said they had been notified by Ortiz's family that the former player sustained a gunshot wound to his "lower back/abdominal region" and that he is recovering after surgery.

The Red Sox said they offered the Ortiz family "all available resources to aid in his recovery."

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.

The 43-year-old Ortiz hit 541 homers in 20 major league seasons, including 14 with the Red Sox. He helped lead Boston to three World Series titles and retired after the 2016 season. He was a 10-time All-Star and two-time World Series MVP, in 2004 and 2013.