(CBS) — Former Red Sox slugger David Ortiz has spoken publicly for the first time about the shooting at a Dominican nightclub that seriously injured him three months ago. In separate interviews with Univision and the Boston Globe, an emotional Ortiz discussed his near-death experience and how he started losing hope during his recovery.
Ortiz also dismissed speculation that he was a target and said he wasn’t involved in anything shady that would have led to an attack. “I don’t have enemies. I don’t know why anyone would want to do this to me,” he told Univision.
As for any suspicion surrounding him, he takes it personally.
“I almost died, man,” he told Univision, tears in his eyes. “I was in a coma. People were criticizing me as if I deserved to be killed.”
Ortiz was shot in the back June 9 in the Dominican Republic. Ortiz told the Globe he felt a “burning sensation” when he was ambushed by the gunman at the Dial Bar and Lounge in Santo Domingo.
“People need to understand, this isn’t a movie where you get shot in the street and you’re back two minutes later,” Ortiz told the Globe. “No, I got shot and almost died. I only have one life to live. I can’t just go to the pharmacy and buy another one.”
The 43-year-old was rushed into surgery in the Dominican Republic where doctors removed his gallbladder and part of his intestines before he was flown to Boston.
He told the Globe the recovery was slow and he “started losing hope” when he developed a dangerous bacterial infection. He was moved out of intensive care June 22, but remained at Massachusetts General Hospital until he was released July 26.
More than a dozen people have been arrested in the Dominican Republic in connection with the shooting. Dominican police have said Ortiz was not the intended target.
Ortiz said the motive of the shooting remains a mystery. He has hired former Boston Police Commissioner and current CBS Boston security analyst Ed Davis to investigate.
“I want to find out who did this,” Ortiz told the Globe. “I’m not going to sit around and chill if there’s somebody out there who wants to kill me.”
Ortiz plans to resume his role as analyst for Fox Sports during the MLB playoffs in October and expects to be fully recovered by Thanksgiving, CBS Boston reported.
He made his first public appearance Monday when he threw out the first pitch before the Red Sox played the Yankees at Fenway Park.