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David Ortiz was not the intended target of murder plot, officials say

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David Ortiz was not the intended target of murder plot, officials say
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REUTERS/Ricardo Rojas
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Former Red Sox star David Ortiz was not the intended target of a murder plot and was accidentally shot in the Dominican Republic, officials said Wednesday.

The bullet that struck Ortiz in the back at the Dial Bar and Lounge on June 9 in the eastern part of Santa Domingo last week was meant for Sixto David Fernandez, in what authorities have described as a murder-for-hire plot.

Surveillance footage released by authorities showed Ortiz crumpled to the ground after a gunman came up from behind and opened fire at close range

Fernandez, a friend of Ortiz's who frequents the bar, was sharing a table with the baseball star at the time. Jean Alain Rodríguez, the country's Attorney General, said Wednesday he personally interviewed Ortiz. The baseball icon, known as "Big Papi," told Rodríguez he had no idea who would want him dead.

The attorney general said that authorities believe Victor Hugo Gómez Vasquez, a fugitive believed to be part of the Cartel Del Golfo, orchestrated the alleged murder hit. It is still unclear why Fernandez was targeted.

Dominican officials have arrested 11 suspects in the alleged plot, including the alleged shooter. At least three of the suspects in custody met Vasquez in prison, officials said Wednesday.

Ortiz is conscious and has been able to walk, according to his wife, Tiffany Ortiz. Doctors at Massachusetts General Hospital upgraded Ortiz's condition to "good" on Tuesday after surgeons on the Caribbean island removed his gallbladder and part of his intestines.

At least ten of the suspects in custody have already been ordered to spend a year in preventive detention as the investigation continues. Authorities are still looking for three other people who may be involved in the alleged hit, including the man they think paid nearly $8,000 for the hit.

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