A GIRL of 14 was shot by gunmen in Mexico as they opened fire on her British estate agent dad during an execution-style killing.
Chris Cleave, 54, was driving his red Audi through the resort of Playa del Carmen near Cancun on Saturday when he was ambushed by two men who opened fire on a motorbike.
The property mogul was killed instantly after a bullet hit him in the head, while his teen daughter – who was with him at the time – was taken to hospital with minor injuries.
Police sources reportedly said the girl was hit in the front passenger seat.
Mr Cleave’s brother, Nick, 56, told the MailOnline: “I’ve spoken to his daughter – she is out of hospital now.
“We will give all the care she will need after seeing her father gunned down.”
Nick, who runs a watersports company in Falmouth, Cornwall, said his brother “loved travelling” and decided to settle in Mexico.
He said: “His property business was very successful and he was highly thought-of and respected.
“We were very close, we were in touch by phone or social media every week. I spoke to him just a few days before this happened, everything was fine. He was very happy.
“He was not married but had his daughter from a relationship while in Mexico.”
It is understood there is no suggestion Mr Cleave was involved in drugs, but local reports said a man thought to be him was threatened last year
It’s believed Mr Cleave and two others were left a chilling warning in a so-called narcomanta – a message left by a local drug cartel on a cloth banner.
The message, written in Spanish, was left in an upmarket beach area of Playa del Carmen called Playacar on March 5, 2021.
It mentioned three names in total and was removed by police soon after.
The threatening message read: “We are coming for you and the sale of your s***. Also for you Cris [sic], with the red Audi.
“Shut your mouth before you find yourself in a body bag.
“Playacar will be your prison because outside we’re waiting for you.”
Bistro Playacar is a restaurant.
There is no suggestion at this stage any illegal activity takes place at the premises.
But unconfirmed local reports at the time said the mystery men behind the threat wanted to sell their drugs there.
Local prosecutors have since confirmed two arrests have been made over Mr Cleave’s death.
They were named as 30-year-old Jose N and 18-year-old Lenin N.
Police said one of the alleged killers had tried to flee on foot after getting off the motorbike during a police chase and hiding in undergrowth.
The other was stopped on the motorbike shortly afterwards.
This was not a random shooting but a targeted attack. He was chosen to be murdered.Police Source
A spokesman for Quintana Roo’s State Prosecution Service said: “We can confirm the arrest of two men who probably participated in the incident that took place on Saturday morning in which a foreigner living in the area lost his life.
“The weapon that was used has been recovered.”
Mr Cleave, who is originally from Truro, Cornwall, had lived in Mexico for more than a decade after moving there in 2014.
Cops confirmed that he and his daughter had been travelling on the main federal highway in Playa Del Carmen.
Police later arrested the two killers after the fled the scene on motorbikes after the horror slaying.
A police source told MailOnline: “This was not a random shooting but a targeted attack. He was chosen to be murdered.”
Officers also believe that he was followed by the killers from his home, and was shot at 9.30am on Saturday after stopping in traffic.
He had celebrated his daughters 14th birthday just three days before the contract style killing in his red Audi.
His brother Nick told The Sun: “We still can’t believe what has happened to Chris.
“We are all just trying to come to terms with his death and all we want to do now is gather the family around so that we can protect our elderly mother.”
He added: “The family won’t be making any further statement at the moment and we would like to be able to grieve in private.”
Shocked friends of Cleave, who ran a property management company, expressed their grief at his murder online.
Sue Steggles said: “So very sad to have lost you Chris Cleave you were one of the good guys and taken far too young.
“I will look back on our Saturday nights with fondness, you were a big part of our life for such a long time.”
Patrick Delage added: “My condolences to all his family and friends.
“People from around the world will celebrate his life. Thank you for being there for us in Playa.”
Cancun has always been a tourist hotspot for Americans on ‘Spring Break’, but has become increasingly popular with British tourists and Instagram influencers.
But violence has been spilling into the area, with rival gangs regularly targeting each other.
Gang members launched a violent shootout in November last year on a tourist beach, which saw two gangsters die.
Two weeks before that incident two tourists were caught in the crossfire of a gang battle in Tulum.
The German and American visitors were shot dead after being caught up in the violent incident.