Baltimore Orioles right-handed relief pitcher Alfredo Simon surrendered to Dominican authorities in Santo Domingo, early Monday, and told reporters that the man who was killed on New Year’s Eve during a celebration in the resort town of Luperon was a friend and that the shooting was an accident.
“It wasn’t a thing like we began arguing and I started shooting. It was some accident; it happened by accident. That’s why I came here—to open my soul,” Simon said.
Simon is to be arraigned later on Monday afternoon in a Puerto Plata courthouse and faces involuntary manslaughter charges. Simon’s attorney, Carlos Olivares said that the victim, 25-year-old Michel Castillo Almonte, is Simon’s cousin. Almonte died from a gunshot wound to his chest. Castillo Almonte’s 17-year-old brother Starlin Castillo Hernandez was injured and remains hospitalized in Santiago, D.R.
Simon could face up to two years in prison if convicted on manslaughter charges.
“The version that we have is that there was a dispute between two women and (Simon) tried to dissolve it, fired a shot that ended up wounding a young person in the arm and that same bullet lodged in the chest of the deceased,” prosecutors said.
“So far he’s the one. There’s no doubt about the incident.” Puerto Plata Assistant District Attorney Juan Carlos Hernandez said.
Simon, who turned himself in accompanied by his attorney and former Oriole Julio Lugo, gave up his gun to authorities Monday. Simon’s attorney said his client fired the gun in the air, and not at people.
“The projectile’s trajectory was only up into the air, so much so that he left,” Olivares said. “He understood that nothing had happened at the moment. And 45 minutes later, when he was eating at some restaurant or discotheque, somebody tells him, ‘Hey, you’re the one who killed so-and-so.’
“We’re concerned about his career or whether he’s going to have to go to jail. We don’t know if it was him. He wants to clear up what happened, but no one really knows if it was him for sure.” Said Lugo about Simon.
Ballistic test results should be available within 48 hours, according to Dominican Police Chief Jose Polanco.
The Orioles have not yet issued a statement.
Simon has said that he regrets the death of Castillo, and wishes to collaborate with police authorities. He has urged authorities to investigate the weapon that he gave up, and said that if the deadly round did indeed came out of his gun, it wasn’t intentional, but he will still accept responsibility and accept any punishment given by the court.