Update: Simon submits himself for questioning
Orioles reliever Alfredo Simon, the primary suspect in a fatal New Year’s Eve shooting in the Dominican Republic, submitted himself to police for questioning on Monday morning. The news, first reported by the Associated Press, was confirmed to MLB.com by one of Simon’s agents, Phil Isaac.
Isaac, of Para Sports Group, spoke with Simon on Sunday night and was waiting to hear back from his client following Monday’s meeting with the police.
“We are optimistic that hopefully this will be the end of the matter,” Isaac said in a phone interview early Monday afternoon.
Simon has been accused of allegedly shooting and killing 25-year-old Michel Castillo Almonte while attending a New Year’s Eve celebration in the coastal town of Luperon. Almonte’s 17-year-old brother, Starlin, was also wounded in the incident, according to the police statement.
The Orioles have not officially commented on the allegations; however, one of the club’s Dominican representatives, Felipe Alou Jr., told the AP Sunday that he had spoken with Simon and the right-hander denied involvement.
The Orioles pitcher was joined Monday in the courthouse in Puerto Plata by attorney Carlos Olivares and close friend and former teammate Julio Lugo. Former Oriole Miguel Tejada has also reached out, according to Isaac, as well as a large number of Dominican-born baseball players, including those who have never played with Simon.
The 29-year-old Simon was a key part of the Orioles bullpen in the wake of injuries to closer Koji Uehara, Michael Gonzalez and Jim Johnson. His contract was purchased less than a year after undergoing Tommy John surgery and Simon compiled 17 saves in Uehara’s absence. He went 4-2 with a 4.93 ERA in total last season and was projected to be a part of the club’s 2011 bullpen.
If convicted, he could face a sentence of up to 30 years in prison.