Thai police kill suspect in shootings after 14-hour standoff

BANGKOK (AP) — Police in provincial Thailand killed a man who had fired at commandos storming his house early Thursday trying to safely end a 14-hour standoff after he shot to death three people and wounded three others, police said.

The commandos called to the scene to assist local police used an armored vehicle to cross open ground shortly before 4 a.m. to storm the two-story house in Phetchaburi, about 170 kilometers (105 miles) southwest of Bangkok.

They climbed to the second story where they confronted the suspect, identified as 29-year-old Anuwat Waentong, senior officers told reporters.

Police Lt. Gen. Thanayut Wutthicharatthamrong said Anuwat fired a hail of bullets at them with a handgun, at least six stopped by their shields, before police shot him dead.

“My men would have been shot many times without the shields.” he said.

Thanayut told reporters police had followed appropriate procedures in trying to end the situation, starting with negotiations and escalating to deadly force. He said that a prolonged standoff could have endangered police as well as other people.

The three dead were two men and a motorcycle delivery driver, whose bodies lay outside the house, but could not immediately be retrieved because they were in the line of fire. They were recovered only late Wednesday night when a vehicle was employed to help shield police from the gunman’s fire.

Police had cordoned off the neighborhood and evacuated children from nearby schools and care centers shortly after the standoff began early Wednesday afternoon. Intermittent volleys of gunfire came from the house throughout the siege.

The suspect’s mother was brought to the site at one point to plead with her son over a bullhorn to give himself up, but received no response.

Thai media initially reported that Anuwat had been due to make a court appearance Wednesday on a drug charge, but police said they were still investigating the cause of the tragedy. Thai media reported Thursday that two of the dead men were involved in a legal dispute with Anuwat after he had a physical altercation with one of them several months ago.

The Phetchaburi incident came just a week after a police lieutenant colonel in Bangkok engaged in a 27-hour standoff with police officers who were trying to detain him for psychiatric treatment. The officer died in a hospital after being shot by police.

Copyright © 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.

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