Eliezer Salvador might not have saved David Ortiz’s life with those words but he certainly did with his actions.
Salvador described to the The Boston Globe’s Aimee Ortiz on Monday via telephone how he rushed the Boston Red Sox legend to a hospital in the Dominican Republic after an assailant shot him in the back.
Salvador, an acquaintance of Ortiz’s and the owner of Dominican sports-betting company Presidente Sports, was sitting at a table at Dial Bar and Lounge on Sunday night when gunfire rang out. Ortiz was among the patrons who tried to scatter amid the smoky chaos when he heard the shot, but he fell to the floor due to his injuries.
“He tried to run, just like everyone else, but with the impact from behind, he fell,” Salvador said.
Salvador then helped Ortiz to his feet, told him “Let’s go” and led the wounded former Major League Baseball superstar to his car.
Two other cars parked at either end of Salvador’s almost prevented him and Ortiz from leaving the scene. Salvador didn’t think twice about damaging the three vehicles in order to help Ortiz.
“I hit the front, I hit the back, to open up space,” Salvador said.
Salvador drove Ortiz for six or seven minutes, reaching speeds of 120-mph at some points, to the hospital of Ortiz’s choice.
“I told him, ‘Let’s go to a closer hospital that’s very good,’ but he said ‘no,’” Salvador said.
All the while, Salvador reassured Ortiz he’d survive the gunshot.
“I told him, ‘You don’t die on me,’” Salvador said.
Salvador also revealed Ortiz doesn’t know why he was shot and was courageous in the aftermath of the shooting.
“He (Ortiz) never talked about death,” Salvador said. “I told him not to worry about it, that it wasn’t going to kill him.”
Ortiz underwent surgery at Centro de Medicina Avanzada Dr. Abel González Hospital in the Dominican Republic, then was transferred to Boston’s Massachusetts General Hospital on Monday night for additional surgery.
Authorities have arrested six people in connection with the shooting, which they describe as an attempted contract killing.
Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images