RAWAI, PHUKET: Police have arrested a suspect for the Saturday night murder of three men who were gunned down as they drank beer together outside their Rawai home.
A fourth victim, also shot in the attack, is in stable condition at Vachira Phuket Hospital.
Police received a report of the shooting just before midnight on Saturday and were at the scene within five minutes.
They found three men dead of .38 caliber gunshot wounds and a fourth man seriously wounded.
All four were lying on the ground around the table they had been drinking at, which was surrounded by Leo beer bottles.
The victims were identified as 38-year-old Songkhla native Kowit Nongmanee; Somsak Rodchuay, 29, from Nakhon Sri Thammarat; and 49-year-old Phaisarn Kraikaew from Phuket.
The sole survivor, 29-year-old Yothin Singhakosit of Phrae province, was rushed to Vachira Phuket Hospital by rescue workers from the Phuket Ruamjai Kupai Foundation.
He is now in stable condition, but too ill to be questioned by police.
The victims, all friends and construction workers, had been enjoying their usual Saturday night drinking session outside their home.
The rented dwelling is located about 100 meters up a small lane off Wiset Road, near the 7-Eleven branch at Muang Phuket School.
Among the onlookers viewing the carnage when police arrived was 38-year-old Songpol Phoonkerd, a Phuket native.
Eyewitnesses told police that Mr Songpol, who owned a nearby home and was the victims’ landlord, was responsible for the attack.
After having an arrest warrant issued, police took him into custody about 6am.
A search of his home uncovered a small air gun in a holster, but not the .38 caliber murder weapon used in the shooting.
Mr Songpol, who reportedly denies the allegations, is now in custody at Chalong Police Station.
He faces multiple counts of premeditated murder, one count of attempted murder, and weapons violations.
Police are still not sure about the motive.
“They all worked in construction together, helping each other find jobs, so it is possible it may have been related to business or some other kind of misunderstanding,” Lt Col Boonlert said.
“I am not sure if Mr Songpol is mentally stable,” he added.
— Kitima Pornmongkhonwat
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