A search operation is underway for an alleged shooter who purportedly killed a highway police officer and gravely wounded another in the aftermath of a promotion discussion that occurred in Muang district, Nakhon Pathom province, late on Wednesday evening.
Pol Maj Gen Montree Theskhan, the head of the Crime Suppression Division (CSD), announced on Thursday that a team of CSD officers, spearheaded by his assistant Pol Col Pornsak Laolujiralai has been assembled.
Along with officers from the Provincial Police Region 7, they have been deployed to various locations in Nakhon Pathom and nearby provinces to search for the suspected gunman.
Authorities have identified the gunman as Thananchai Manmak, 45, who is suspected to be an associate of Praween Chankhlai, alias Kamnan Nok, a local administrative leader.
The episode unfolded around 10pm in front of a residence in tambon Takong, situated in the Muang district of Nakhon Pathom.
Per witness accounts, Kamnan Nok had called a team of highway police to his residence for a dinner gathering to build familiarity.
Amongst the officers present were Pol Maj Sivakorn Saibua, the leader of the first highway police station in the Highway Police Sub-division 2, and Pol Lt Col Wasin Panpee, the second in command of the Highway Police Sub-division 2.
In the course of the promotion discussion, Kamnan Nok attempted to convince the officers to promote a highway police officer who was currently reporting to Pol Maj Sivakorn.
Nonetheless, Pol Maj Sivakorn opposed, insisting that promotions should follow official guidelines and reflect one’s performance.
Reportedly discontent, the tambon chief entered into a fiery dispute with the officers, eventually departing abruptly in frustration.
Not long after, an individual approached their table, pulled out a firearm and started shooting. This individual was later identified as Mr. Thananchai.
Pol Maj Sivakorn endured seven bullet wounds and subsequently passed away due to the inflicted injuries. Pol Lt Col Wasin experienced a gunshot to the left arm and received medical care at a healthcare facility.
Pol Lt Gen Achayon Kraithong, the spokesperson for the Royal Thai Police, stated that Pol Gen Damrongsak Kittiprapas, the head of the national police, had started the initiation of a widespread police operation to arrest Mr. Thananchai, given the brazen nature of his committed crime.
The Nakhon Pathom Court issued an arrest warrant for him on Thursday, citing charges of premeditated murder, attempted homicide, unauthorized possession of firearms and ammunition, and brandishing a weapon in public without authorization.
Pol Gen Torsak Sukvimol, the high-ranking deputy police chief, noted that the shooter perpetrated the act amidst a large gathering who had assembled for the dinner.
A total of five dining arrangements were present, with one designated for the assembly of highway policemen.
“The action was outrageous. The gunman was audacious enough to carry out this act against the police in a public setting,” stated Pol Gen Torsak.
“How can ordinary people be certain about their safety? I have ordered the officers to quickly apprehend the suspect. The police have been told to take a decisive action in the event of any retaliation.”
Any individual discovered to be implicated will be subjected to arrest warrants and legal consequences, cautioned the deputy police chief.