Covid hospital gunman faces six charges

Covid hospital gunman faces six charges

Suspect taken for re-enactments at sites of killings in Pathum Thani and Bangkok

Kawin Saengnilkul, 23, a former special forces soldier, is taken for a crime re-enactment on Friday at a field hospital in Pathum Thani, where he shot dead a Covid patient on Thursday. (Photo: Pongpat Wongyala)
Kawin Saengnilkul, 23, a former special forces soldier, is taken for a crime re-enactment on Friday at a field hospital in Pathum Thani, where he shot dead a Covid patient on Thursday. (Photo: Pongpat Wongyala)

Police have pressed six charges against a former soldier who shot dead a Covid patient at a field hospital after killing a convenience store employee earlier, as they took him for a crime re-enactment on Friday.

Kawin Saengnilkul, 23, of Thanyaburi district in Pathum Thani, was taken to the Princess Mother National Institute for Drug Abuse Treatment in Thanyaburi around noon on Friday.

The former soldier who was based in Lop Buri surrendered to police in Ranong province on Thursday afternoon. He had fled there and was holed up in a relative’s house, hours after slaying a male patient at the drug treatment institute, which is also serving as a field hospital for Covid-19 patients.

Before the attack, the suspect had also shot dead a male employee at a 7-Eleven store in the Phahon Yothin area of Bangkok about 2am.

Speculation persists about what triggered the shootings. One report suggested the suspect had a grudge against drug traffickers and that is why he chose the treatment centre. His father, meanwhile, was quoted as saying his sone was angry at the way he was treated while in the army.

Pol Maj Gen Chayut Marayard, chief of Pathum Thani police, led a team of police to take the gunman for a crime reenactment at six spots inside the drug abuse treatment centre.

The suspect was escorted by more than 40 plainclothes police to six spots — the entrance of the institute, a car park in front of the command building, a path leading to the field hospital, an area in front of a coffee shop where he opened fire on security guards, another spot in front of the building where he opened fire on guards, and the last spot where he escaped in his pickup truck.

The gunman, wearing camouflage clothing and a red beret, entered the building after firing a gunshot that shattered the locked front glass door of the institute at about 3.30am Thursday. Inside, he shot dead Suksant Sewaphan, a 54-year-old patient, who was walking out of a bathroom on the first floor of the male patients’ zone.

After the crime re-enactment, police took him for further interrogation at Pratunam Chulalongkorn police station.

After three hours of questioning, the suspect was handed over to the Phahon Yothin police station in Bangkok.

Pol Maj Gen Chayut said investigators have pressed six counts of charges against the suspect: first-degree murder, illegal possession of firearms, carrying firearms in public without a permit, firing shots without a sound reason, causing damage to property, and premediated murder.

Phahon Yothin police then took the suspect for a crime re-enactment at a 7-Eleven store at Soi Lat Phrao 25 in Chatuchak district, where Rathawit Santikuptapong, 32, had been slain.

The suspect was taken to two spots: the Garden Inn on Lat Phrao Soi 25 where he had checked in before the shooting, and the convenience storea at the entrance of the soi where the killing took place.

Police said earlier that the gunman had apparently lost his temper at the store, after the employee asked him to pay for a bottle of beer that he had accidentally dropped. He returned to the store and shot the employee dead at about 2.50am. Later, he changed into camouflage gear and went to the institute in Pathum Thani.

He is now being held at the Phahon Yothin police station. Police will take him to the Criminal Court on Saturday to seek court approval to detain him further.

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