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.
They were to kill him at a Dominican Republic bar, the 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.
The family 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.
It involved two men on a motorcycle working with two other groups of people in cars, National Police chief Ney Aldrin Bautista Almonte told reporters.
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.
He was legendary 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.
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.
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, a media outlet reported.
(Edited by Olawale Alabi)
12th Africa Games: Nigeria wins 3 golds in badminton, basketball, weightlifting
Nigeria on Sunday increased its medals at the ongoing 12th All Africa Games in Morocco, winning 3 gold medals in badminton, basketball and weightlifting.
The Nigeria News Agency reports that Team Nigeria defeated Algeria 3-0 in the Badminton mixed event at Salle Ain Chock, Casablanca.
The duo of Enejoh Abah and Peace Orji set the tone when they dispatched the Algerian combination of Kocella Mamaeri and Linda Maziri 2-1 in the Mixed Doubles.
It was not an easy battle as the Algerians won the first game 21-16.
The Nigerians fought back in the second match to win 21-18.
Team Nigeria also took the third game 21-19.
Anuoluwapo Opeyori overcame Algeria’s Youcef Medel Sabri with a 2-0 to win in the Men’s Singles.
The first match was hard-fought, but Opeyori won 23-21 before taking the second game with relative ease, winning 21-11.
Dorcas Adesokan completed the rout for Nigeria, beating Halla Bouksani 21-13, 21-14.
Nigeria also defeated Mali 21-20 to win gold medal in 3*3 women basketball.
Team Nigeria also won bronze medal in the male category.
In weightlifting, Team Nigeria also delivered one gold, four silver and four bronze medals.
Kalu King won gold medal in the 55kg men class.
He also won one silver and one bronze.
Augustina Nkem won 3 silver medals for Nigeria in the 49kg women weightlifting class.
Nkem lifted a total of 161.
She lifted 71kg in her first attempt in the snatch, missed her second attempt and lifted 74kg in her third attempt.
Nkem missed her first attempt and lifted 93kg in her second and third attempt in the clean and jerk.
Stella Peter won three silver medals for Nigeria in the 45kg women weightlifting category.
Peter in the snatch lifted 71kg in her first attempt, missed her second attempt and lifted 74kg in her third attempt.
She missed her first attempt, lifted 93kg in her second and third attempt in the clean and jerk.
Peter had a total of 138kg in the -45kg woman class.
Edited by Wale Ojetimi
Iranian women can watch World Cup qualifier in stadium – official
The official IRNA news agency, quoted a Sports Ministry official as saying on Sunday, following heightened pressure from FIFA.
Though foreign women have had limited access to matches in Iran, Iranian women however, had been banned from the stadium when male teams are playing, since the Islamic revolution in 1979.
FIFA wrote to the Iranian Football Federation in June, asking it to provide a timeline for women to be able to buy tickets for the qualifiers, or face consequences.
“Women can go to Tehran’s Azadi stadium to watch the match between Iran’s national team and Cambodia in October, for the Qatar World Cup qualifier,” IRNA quoted deputy Sports Minister Jamshid Taghizadeh as saying.
The AFC, the Asian football governing body, which has 47 members including Iran, said on Tuesday it was working to help world soccer governing body FIFA, find an “amicable solution” that would allow Iranian female fans to attend future games in Iran.
“There is no legal ban for women to watch football matches in the stadium. The activation of the infrastructure is underway,” Taghizadeh said.
Iranian female fans had long campaigned to be allowed to watch men’s soccer, and occasionally a limited number of women had been allowed into the stadium.
In June, some women were detained by security forces when they went to the Azadi Stadium for a friendly match against Syria.
Last year, some women risked arrest by donning fake beards and wigs to attend a major game in the stadium.
Their pictures and videos were posted on social media.
Iranian women allowed to watch World Cup qualifier in stadium – official
While foreign women have been allowed limited access to matches in Iran, Iranian women have been banned from stadiums when men’s teams are playing since the Islamic revolution in 1979.
FIFA wrote to the Iranian Football Federation in June asking it to provide a timeline towards women being able to buy tickets for the qualifiers, or face consequences.
“Women can go to Tehran’s Azadi stadium to watch the match between Iran’s national team and Cambodia in October for the Qatar World Cup qualifier,” Deputy Sports Minister Jamshid Taghizadeh said.
The Asian football governing body (AFC), which has 47 members including Iran, said it was working to help FIFA find an “amicable solution” that would allow Iranian female fans to attend future games in Iran.
“There is no legal ban for women to watch the football matches in the stadium. The activation of the infrastructure is underway,” Taghizadeh said.
Iranian female fans have long campaigned to be allowed to watch men’s football and occasionally a limited number of women have been allowed into the stadium.
In June, some women were detained by security forces when they went to the Azadi Stadium for a friendly against Syria.
Last year, some women risked arrest by donning fake beards and wigs to attend a major game in the stadium. Their pictures and videos were posted on social media.
The 2022 World Cup will be held in Qatar. (Reuters/)
Edited by Felix Ajide
Aguero strikes again as Manchester City win at Bournemouth
Aguero, who has scored in all three games this season, gave City a 15th-minute lead.
The striker slotted home after left back Oleksandr Zinchenko’s low cross had been mis-hit by Kevin De Bruyne only to fall kindly for the Argentine.
Adam Smith then missed a great chance to level for the Cherries, firing high over the bar from a good position after some poor defending from Nicolas Otamendi.
Moments later Raheem Sterling doubled City’s lead with a confident finish after David Silva concluded a sweeping move with a perfectly angled pass to the England striker.
But Bournemouth got back into the game in magnificent fashion, just before the interval, thanks to an unstoppable curling free-kick from substitute Harry Wilson, on loan from Liverpool.
Wilson went close to a leveller after the interval but Ederson was out quickly to foil his effort.
City then made sure of the win when Aguero poked home his second goal in the 63rd minute, following in for the scraps after David Silva had surged into the box. (Reuters/)
Edited by Felix Ajide
Nigeria have prospect to produce world class athletes, says Lawmaker
Lazarus Ogbee, member House Representative Committee on Sports, on Sunday said that Nigerian athletes have prospect to be world class athletes.
Ogbee told the Nigeria News Agency in Rabat, Morocco that the performance of Nigerian athletes at the ongoing 12th African Games confirmed that the country had abundant talents.
“Nigeria has the prospect of producing world class athletes. All they need is little encouragements and doing the right thing at the right time and having more training facilities in the country.
“Since I am in the committee for sports, what I have seen has encouraged me and has given me the tonic to do more and to encourage our people to invest in sports.
“We have every potential and the country can go on to produce world beaters in sports,’’ he said.
Ogbee, who watched the Nigerian female volleyball team beat Botswana, tasked the team to win gold medal at the Games.
Nigeria beat Botswana 3-1 (25-13, 22-25, 25-20, 25-15) at the Salle El Bouâzzaoui.
Ogbee commended the Nigerian the volleyball team for recording her first victory at the Games.
He said that the nation was strongly behind them.
“The women’s volleyball team has the support of the country that is why we came here in our numbers in the name of the government to support them.
“We have been going from one event center to the other to make sure we cheer the Nigerian contingent to victory and the women’s volleyball team has done wonderfully well today by beating their Botswana counterparts.
“We encourage them to go further to win the gold medal,’’ Ogbee said.
(Editing by Peter Ejiofor)