NAKHON PHANOM: An army corporal accused of shooting dead a private at the entrance of an arm camp in Pla Pak district surrendered to police on Friday and claimed he had a personal problem with the victim.
Cpl Manit Chanthaphinit, based at Phra Yod Muang Khwang camp, was taken to Muang Nakhon Phanom police station around 10pm on Friday, after the 24th Military Circle Court in Udon Thani province approved an arrest warrant for him on murder charges.
The 33-year-old corporal had shot dead Pvt 1st Class Watchara Inala, 29, while the victim was on duty in a guard booth of the army camp on Thursday evening.
According to police, Cpl Manit arrived on a motorcycle at the entrance of the army camp and started talking with Pvt 1st Class Watchara. Cpl Manit then fired a 9mm pistol at the private repeatedly, killing him on the spot, before fleeing on the motorcycle.
A source said mounting pressure from police and worries about his ill mother may have caused the suspect to contact his superior, Maj Gen Sathaporn Boonchu, commander of the 210th Military Circle in Nakhon Phanom, for his surrender. His superior picked up him at a petrol station near Nakhon Phanom airport and escorted him to the police station.
During questioning, Cpl Manit told police that the shooting stemmed from a personal conflict between him and Pvt 1st Class Watchara. The victim also disrespected him, who was his senior friend, but they had no work-related problems, said the suspect.
He claimed the shooting was not planned. On Thursday evening, he was about to have dinner with his mother at home but saw the victim standing near the guard booth. When they met, they expressed dissatisfaction at each other. In a fit of anger coupled with the long-standing personal conflict, he pulled the gun to shoot the junior friend. He admitted he had drunk two cans of beer.
After the shooting, he took refuge at a forest near his village. He felt remorseful for his action and worried about his ill mother, who was alone in the house. This had driven him to contact his superior for his surrender, said the suspect.
Pol Col Natthawit Ratchakaew, chief of Muang Nakhon Phanom police station, investigators and military officers jointly interrogated the suspect.
The suspect was in police custody for further interrogation before he was taken to the 24th Military Circle Court for trial.