Trio escape court after cop shot
Chon Buri: Three prisoners on trial for drug offences, one of them an American, shot and stabbed a police officer at the Criminal Court in Pattaya before fleeing in what appeared to be a getaway vehicle on Monday.
The Courts of Justice identified the inmates as Noi Nilthes, Sirinapa Wisetrit and American national Bart Allen Helmus.
Ms Sirinapa is Mr Helmus's wife and they were charged together while Mr Noi faces separate drug-related charges.
Courts of Justice spokesman Suriyan Hongwilai said the charges against the three carry a maximum death penalty.
The three were among 14 inmates in custody at the Special Prison at Nong Pla Lai in Bang Lamung district who were being transported to the court to stand trial on Monday.
Shortly after the inmates arrived at the court, loud shouts were heard, followed by gunshots.
Mr Suriyan said Mr Noi shot a court police officer, identified as Pol Capt Thanamet Photipan, who was also stabbed with a knife by Mr Helmus.
Pol Capt Thanamet was reported to be in critical condition in a local hospital.
The three, who were shackled, then ran from the back of the court compound into the carpark and got into an Isuzu pickup truck that sped off along Thep Prasit Road.
Mr Suriyan said Pattaya police were reviewing footage from surveillance cameras installed along the inmates' escape route.
Mr Noi was indicted on charges of possessing 229,800 methamphetamine pills and 100 ecstasy tablets. Mr Helmus and Ms Sirinapa faced trial for possessing a kilo of crystal meth.
Helmus: American on trial
Noi: Shot cop