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"A lot of people don't believe it, but I go with what the national authorities say," said Luis Mercedes, 72, who watched a young Ortiz develop his skills in the league decades ago.The extraordinary twist in what police initially called a murder-for-hire plot has divided the baseball-crazed Caribbean nation of 11 million people. Many Dominicans, long suspicious of their government, question the validity of the theory that it was a case of mistaken identity. "That's what the national police says," said Mercedes, who prefers to talk about Ortiz's long, storied career and well-known charitable deeds. "I didn't say it."

'The story of the year'

Ortiz was on a crowded patio at the Dial Bar and Lounge in Santo Domingo the night of June 9 when a gunman shot him in the back.Days later, a prosecution spokesman dismissed reports that Ortiz was not the intended victim, saying he doubted any Dominican would not recognize the hulking former baseball star nicknamed Big Papi. But Attorney General Jean Alain Rodríguez Sanchez, referring to Ortiz as "our beloved Big Papi," on Wednesday stunned the nation with a new development. A friend of Ortiz — a local auto repair shop owner who shared a table with Ortiz at the outdoor bar — was the target of the botched hit, he said. Dominican officials say alleged gunman mistook Big Papi for someone else"It's the story of the year," Mercedes said in a telephone interview. "That's all people talk about. But I don't really want to touch the subject. What happened to David Ortiz is lamentable."Others talk about little else. "In restaurants, in supermarkets, in pharmacies, it's David Ortiz all the time," said Bienvenido Rojas, a longtime sports reporter for Diario Libre in the capital of Santo Domingo. "Can you believe this? What do you think really happened?"Dominicans have harbored a healthy dose of skepticism about government pronouncements since the days of the violent dictatorship of Rafael Trujillo, who, beginning in 1930, ruled with an iron fist for about three decades. "As a principle, Dominicans don't believe official accounts," Rojas said. "It dates to the Trujillo era."

'A breastfeeding infant can identify David Ortiz'

David Ortiz, left, and Sixto David Fernandez together in an undated photo.Doubts about the Ortiz investigation also stem from the fact authorities now say the real target was Sixto David Fernandez, a friend of Ortiz. While police say the men were dressed similarly, they have different physical appearances. Here's why authorities say David Ortiz was mistakenly attacked in the Dominican RepublicOrtiz is a strapping 6'3 and 250 pounds, according to the Red Sox. He's one of the most famous and recognizable athletes in the world. Fernandez is smaller and thinner, with a lighter complexion. "They don't look alike at all," Rojas said. "Some people will tell you that even a breastfeeding infant can identify David Ortiz."Asked Franklin Segura, a 31-year-old civil engineer in the capital: "How can this be a case of mistaken identity? It's hard to believe that someone doesn't recognize Big Papi, number 34." The suspected hit man was only sent a blurry photo of Fernandez, authorities said. The lighting that night made the shooter confuse one for the other, they said. Authorities have arrested 11 suspects so far. Three remain at large, including the man identified as the mastermind, Victor Hugo Gomez, a cousin of Fernandez. Who is Victor Hugo Gomez, the alleged mastermind behind the David Ortiz shooting?Suspecting that Fernandez had turned him in to law enforcement in 2011, Gomez directed the hit on Fernandez from the United States through a sprawling web of contacts in the Dominican Republic, authorities said. So why wait eight years to exact revenge? And why do so in such a public setting? "They could have carried this out elsewhere, in a place without cameras every 50 meters," Rojas said."People want to know the truth,&quoRead More – Source