Local leader’s gunfire hits elderly man during Songkran celebration

A celebration took a perilous turn when a local leader of the Volunteer Defense Corps fired shots into the air, with one stray bullet striking a disabled 67 year old man, Somchai, as he rested at home.

The gunman, identified as 48 year old Phiphat admitted to losing control due to intoxication during the Songkran festivities. This reckless act not only endangered lives but also left the community in shock, highlighting the dangers of irresponsible firearm use during public celebrations.

The incident occurred yesterday when Phiphat, caught up in the revelry of Thailand’s traditional New Year, discharged his firearm without considering the potential consequences. The bullet pierced through the tranquillity of Somchai’s home in Tha Khai, Muang Chachoengsao, narrowly missing a hot water flask before lodging itself in his chin.

Somchai’s 63 year old wife Valapa was alerted and found her husband in a dire state, with the bullet having stopped at the back of his head.

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On April 15, as reported by the authorities, Phiphat turned himself into the police. Carrying the golden semi-automatic 9mm pistol and ammunition, he surrendered the items for inspection.

Following his release, he is expected to face further questioning and charges. In a gesture of remorse, Phiphat, accompanied by the village head, Supoj Promsuwan, visited Somchai’s residence to apologise. Valapa led him to Somchai’s room, where the apologetic Phiphat, acknowledging the folly of his actions, sought forgiveness.

Somchai recounted the shocking moment, a sudden pain in his chin, followed by a hand coated in blood, as he heard a succession of gunshots. Despite the trauma, Somchai held no grudge, as Phiphat promised to take full responsibility for his actions. Somchai, who had only seen such reckless shooting incidents on the news, never imagined he would become a victim in his own home.

His 30 year old daughter, Panadda, shared that the village head facilitated the apology that evening. While her father forgave Phiphat for taking responsibility, she stressed that the legal proceedings would still move forward.

She also issued a plea to gun owners, especially during festivals like Songkran, to refrain from firing into the air, as the consequences are unpredictable and could be fatal, as was nearly the case with her father, reported KhaoSod.

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Nattapong Westwood

Nattapong Westwood is a Bangkok-born writer who is half Thai and half Aussie. He studied in an international school in Bangkok and then pursued journalism studies in Melbourne. Nattapong began his career as a freelance writer before joining Thaiger. His passion for news writing fuels his dedication to the craft, as he consistently strives to deliver engaging content to his audience.

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