Motive Is Currently Unknown For Assassination Style Attack
A British ex-pat has been shot and killed in a targeted attack near Playa del Carmen. The death is the latest in a string of violent attacks that have shaken Quintana Roo.
The deceased, named Chis Cleave, was shot in his car over the weekend by two gunmen in Playacar. His 14-year-old daughter was also riding in the vehicle at the time but was not injured. She was taken to hospital and treated for shock and PTSD.
According to multiple reports, Cleave was followed in his red Audi after leaving his home on Saturday morning. The two killers followed on motorbikes and seized the moment when his vehicle was stopped in traffic. They shot through the driver-side window hitting Mr. Cleave in the head and killing him.
At the moment, the motive behind the attack is unclear. Mr. Cleave had lived in Mexico for over a decade, working as a property manager and real estate agent after becoming a permanent resident in 2013. There are no obvious links between Cleave and any local criminal branches relating to organized crime. However, a month before the incident, Cris was mentioned in a threatening note to a local business.
The cloth banner, which is used by many criminal gangs as a way to send threats, was directed at a local restaurant. The suggestion was made that those involved wanted to sell drugs on the establishment but were refused. The banner read as follows.
“This is for you [redacted name] from Playacar, with Range Rover and Porsche cars and the secret partners of [redacted restaurant name]. We are coming for you and the sale of your s**t. Also for you Cris, with the red Audi.”
The restaurant, which has not been named, is not currently linked to any illegal activity in the region, despite current events.
The manner of the attacks leaves no doubt that the killings were premeditated and targeted. Both men were arrested after a brief chase with the police and taken into custody. They also found the murder weapon. It is hoped that their arrest may help shed some light on the situation.
The brutal murder is the latest in a string of high-profile incidents in the area. Several organized crime-related killings have drawn questions of tourist safety in Quintana Roo from around the world. The vast majority of these events have not impacted visitors directly and tourists are statistically still very safe in the state.
This weekend’s events are likely to prompt fresh concern, especially considering the deceased was a foreigner albeit a permanent resident. As more information becomes clear, a better picture of the entire situation will lend more perspective.
Quintana Roo is fighting a PR battle every time tragic incidents like this take place. Although safety is rarely a problem for anyone visiting Cancun or Tulum, those considering a trip to the region are justifiably reconsidering their options. They may look to one of Mexico’s competitors as they begin to remove their COVID restrictions, or even go further abroad to Europe where these kinds of killings are extremely rare.
Although tourists are less at risk of most crimes in Cancun compared to major tourist destinations like Paris and Las Vegas, the reputation it has garnered over the past year is likely to impact the way tourists view the area.
The government is implementing further security programs to Quintana Roo to help combat any organized crime-related violence. Some of the measures include an added national guard presence, more security cameras, and round-the-clock surveillance on the most popular spots. Restaurants and bars are even patching their own security systems into the police’s own to allow for maximum coverage and quick response times.
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