Gunmen in Argentina target Lionel Messi and his family
“Messi, we’re waiting for you,” read a note left at a crime scene in soccer star Lionel Messi’s hometown of Rosario. The supermarket that gunmen shot up belongs to his in-laws.
Police in Rosario, Argentina, 300 kilometers (190 miles) northwest of Buenos Aires, say that at 3:20 a.m. Thursday local time (0620 GMT) two men on a motorcycle stopped in front of a Unico supermarket owned by global soccer superstar Lionel Messi’s in-laws and fired 14 rounds into the front of the shop.
The perpetrators left behind a piece of cardboard with a note reading: “Messi, we’re waiting for you. Javkin is a drug trafficker, too, so he won’t take care of you.”
Who is the note referencing?
Mayor Pablo Javkin, a center-left opposition politician, has been an outspoken critic of federal authorities over their lack of action against drug-related violence in Rosario, Argentina’s third-largest city.
Javkin said he trusted no one to keep citizens safe.
“I doubt everyone, even those who are supposed to protect us,” he said.
“Where are the ones who need to take care of us? It’s clear that those who have the weapons and have the possibility of investigating the criminals aren’t doing it, and it’s very easy for any gang to carry out something like this.”
The mayor said the Rosario neighborhood where Antonella Roccuzzo’s parents’ shop is located has seen a spike in crime. He said he has raised the issue with state and federal law enforcement, yet they had failed to act.
On Thursday, Mayor Javkin called on Governor Omar Perotti and President Alberto Fernandez — both of the ruling Peronist coalition — to come to Rosario.
“I am the mayor of this city. To be clear: I am not in charge of security forces. And when I asked to be put in charge I was not allowed. So those responsible should come here.”
Currently, several rival drug gangs are fighting for control of the city.
Last year, 288 people were killed in drug-related violence. Fiftty six people have already been killed since the start of the year.
The violence has seen an uptick in attacks on public buildings and institutions such as prisons and police posts.
Lionel Messi, captain of Argentina’s World Cup-winning national team, has not commented on the incident.
Messi is currently under contract at the French club Paris Saint-Germain. He resides in Paris yet often visits Rosario, where he has a home.