The man who shot MLB legend David Ortiz issued a desperate statement from his jail cell Thursday -- admitting he pulled the trigger ... but claiming Big Papi was NOT the man he was trying to kill.
25-year-old Rolfi Ferreira Cruz peeked his face out through bars in the Dominican Republic to address the hoards of reporters crowded outside the jail ... and made the shocking comments.
"It wasn't supposed to be David," Rolfi said in Spanish from behind a barred window ... explaining it was the color of David's clothing that confused him.
You can also hear another man in the cell -- presumably another suspect in the case -- telling Rolfi in Spanish, "Tell them it wasn't meant for David."
Cruz did NOT reveal who the intended target was -- only suggesting he was sent to the Dial Bar on Sunday to kill another man who was dressed like Ortiz that night.
El imputado Rolfy Ferreras Cruz, indicado por las autoridades como la persona que disparó en contra del ex pelotero de Grandes Ligas; David Ortiz, dijo hoy que baleó por error al deportista. “Solo me dijeron el color de ropa” declaró Rolfi, desde la celda del destacamento PN. pic.twitter.com/5mrvlbUnrg
So far, at least 6 people have been arrested in the attempted murder plot -- and cops are still searching for other suspects ... including Luis Alfredo Rivas-Clase, who is also a suspect in a 2018 shooting in Pennsylvania.
Officials still have not revealed a possible motive for the attack.
Surveillance footage of the incident show 2 men -- including Cruz -- rolling up to the bar on a motorcycle. Cruz walks right up to Ortiz and shoots him in the back before trying to make a getaway.
The motorcycle crashed and the suspects tried to flee -- but one man was stopped and beaten by bystanders.
As for Ortiz ... his wife, Tiffany, says he's been able to sit up and take steps this week ... adding, "He continues to heal and make progress."