- Associated Press - Sunday, January 2, 2011

SANTO DOMINGO, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC | Baltimore Orioles reliever Alfredo Simon is the main suspect in a fatal shooting New Year’s Eve in the Dominican Republic, police said Sunday.

The pitcher is suspected of killing 25-year-old Michel Castillo Almonte and wounding his 17-year-old brother during a celebration in the northeast coastal town of Luperon, police said in a statement. No motive was disclosed. Simon is from the Dominican Republic, and police said he fled after the violence.

Felipe Alou Jr., a Dominican representative for the Orioles, said he spoke with Simon on Saturday and the player said he was in the area when the violence occurred but insisted he was not involved in the shootings.

“He says to us that the wounded man can confirm that he was not the one who fired,” Alou told The Associated Press.

The injured teenager was shot in the right arm and remains hospitalized in the Dominican city of Santiago.

Simon hired a Dominican lawyer, Alou said, but did not give the name.

Police Maj. Pablo Cuevas said he believes Simon is hiding in Santiago, where he was born. He is confident the player will surrender to authorities by Monday. Simon could face up to 30 years in prison if found guilty.

The 29-year-old pitcher joined Baltimore in 2008 but was quickly sidelined with an injury. He went 4-2 with a 4.93 ERA last season. He had 17 saves before Orioles manager Buck Showalter decided to make Koji Uehara the closer.

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