BUENOS AIRES — Gunmen fired more than a dozen shots at a closed store owned by Lionel Messi’s in-laws, fleeing after leavening a threatening message for the Argentine superstar.
The attack targeted a supermarket in Rosario, Messi’s hometown which lies some 320 kilometers (200 miles) northwest of the capital Buenos Aires.
“Messi, we are waiting for you. Javkin is a narco, he will not take care of you,” read a handwritten message left outside the supermarket, referring to Pablo Javkin, the mayor of Rosario.
Police said two men on a motorcycle fired 14 shots at the Unico supermarket owned by the family of Messi’s wife Antonella Roccuzzo.
The owners had not reported any extortion calls or other threats.
Javkin blamed the attack on rising drug-related crime in Argentina’s third-most populous city.
He lamented that police are not even fighting drug trafficking anymore and the number of federal forces is not enough.
The mayor said one of his top priorities will be to protect the Rocuzzo family.
Argentina’s Security Minister Anibal Fernandez said the attack shows “drug traffickers have won,” acknowledging that “this has been going on for 20 years.”
He asserted that the government has sent more than 3,000 federal security personnel to combat crime in Rosario.
Neither Messi nor his wife have commented on the attack.
The couple lives in Paris, where he plays for Paris Saint-German, but the World Cup winner has national team commitments later this month. — Agencies
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