On Thursday the 2nd of August, an unknown shooter killed workman Valentino Spalluto in Lecce's Piazza Palio as he was setting up the stage for Saturday's Laura Pausini concert, which the singer cancelled as a result of the homicide.
Around 5.00 pm, workers erecting the stage structure heard shots and saw a helmeted scooter rider dressed in black speed off. Spalluto's father-in-law and boss found the 20-year-old on the ground covered in blood from shots to the arm and head. None of the other workers present were able to identify the shooter.
After Pausini and her team debated whether to continue with the concert, Pausini announced Friday on Facebook, "I don't feel like I can return to Italy and sing in a place where a terrible and inexplicable tragedy has taken place".
Investigators have determined that Spalluto personally was the target of the attack, not the comune of Lecce or the Pausini production. Prosecutor Motta speculates that the Mafia may have been after pay back for a laundromat fire committed in Valentino's hometown Surbo when he was 17. It was the first such killing in Lecce since the spree of Mafia killings in 2009.
Earlier this year, another stage workman died setting up the stage for Laura Pausini's performance at the Reggio Emilia concert. Matteo Armellini was killed and two others injured when the light rigging arch over the stage collapsed.