Two individuals opened fire in the middle of the night on a closed supermarket belonging to Lionel Messi’s wife’s family, before leaving a threatening letter on the ground intended at the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner.
“Messi, we’re waiting for you. Javkin is a narco, he won’t take care of you,” said the handwritten message left on the ground by the men who shot 14 bullets into the supermarket’s metallic facade in the early hours of Thursday.
Pablo Javkin is the mayor of Messi’s hometown of Rosario, which is around 320 kilometers northwest of Buenos Aires.
Javkin said the grocery belonged to Antonela Roccuzzo’s family, who has three children with the football hero, and stated that the goal of the attack was to “cause panic in the city.”
“Here, what’s sought is the repercussion, it’s perfidious,” he said. “What story goes more quickly viral in the world than an attack on Messi?”
A witness confirmed seeing the two men arrive on a motorbike just before 3:00. One of them got off, fired the shots, dropped the note and they both fled.
“This has been going on for some time,” said Javkin. “We have five security forces operating in Rosario yet they can do this because no one is chasing them.”
According to Provincial Police Assistant Chief Ivan Gonzalez, the letter was “not a threat,” but rather an attempt to “draw attention.”
He claimed that no one was wounded because no one was on the premises at the time.
Federico Rebola, the prosecutor in charge of the investigation, informed reporters that no previous threats had been made against the Roccuzzo family.
“We’re concerned, this has a huge repercussion, we have the video images and we’re looking for more cameras,” he said.
Rosario is a port city on the Parana River that has steadily become a hub for drug trafficking and Argentina’s most violent city, with 287 murders in 2022.
The centrist mayor, the left-wing governor of Santa Fe state, Omar Perotti, and the center-left national government often delegate responsibility for counter-narcotics measures and the usage of the city’s security forces.
Provincial Minister Claudio Brilloni said this week that he “urged the federal forces to greater collaboration, involvement, and participation” in the battle against violence and criminality in Rosario during a meeting of municipal, provincial, and national security forces.
Among the right-wing opposition, two declared candidates for October’s presidential election called for help from the military police to fight drug-trafficking in Rosario.
“The situation is complicated in Rosario… the drug traffickers have won,” said Security Minister Anibal Fernandez.