Thai police defend slow response to Phetchaburi gunman as victims’ families grieve

Thai police are defending what many say was a “delayed response” to a gunman who killed three people and wounded three others in Phetchaburi province.

The police say the gunman was not considered an active gunman, with the deaths involved being those who were caught in the crossfire between police and the ex-ranger. Family members of the deceased persons are criticising the police and asking why they took 14 hours to take down the gunman.

According to the Bangkok Post, the family members say they believe that the injured victim could have been saved if he had been moved from the scene immediately.

The gunman, Anuwat Laemthong was due to appear in court on a drug charge but failed to meet his mother at the courthouse. Police say he got drunk instead and went looking for two others who were supposed to testify against him in court.

He fired six shots at the neck of one man and 15 at the other. Police say he fired until his magazine was emptied. During the shootings, an innocent deliveryman was passing by and was shot eight times and died.

A bullet also grazed the neck of the chief of the Ton Mamuang tambon administrative organisation who was also driving by.

Torsak Sukwimol, a police general, says the gunman was not targeting people at random.

“He chose to shoot his adversaries first and had to shoot the other two eyewitnesses. He did not fire indiscriminately. So, officers had to resort to negotiations first. The gunman’s mother was brought in to help negotiate.”

But, all negotiations failed with police finally shooting the gunman at 4am after he had been holed up inside a house for 14 hours.

The two victims, Pasit Em-ot, 21, and Rathakorn Thongkaew, 22, were both fourth-year students at Petchaburi Rajabhat University.

Family members of the injured and deceased victims say if police were going to kill the gunman anyway, they should not have waited so long to do it. They say if they had not waited, their family members may not have been killed.

Central Thailand NewsCrime NewsHot News

Ann Carter

Ann Carter is an award-winning journalist from the United States with over 12 years experience in print and broadcast news. Her work has been featured in America, China and Thailand as she has worked internationally at major news stations as a writer and producer. Carter graduated from the Walter Williams Missouri School of Journalism in the USA.

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