Justice Minister Somsak Thepsutin confirms prison official in Phichit shot dead four members of his wife's family, including both parents, and wounded three others.
Mr Somsak discounted stress caused by work as a factor, and said a family dispute was at the seat of the shooting.
Puttawan Manpan, 51, a prison official at the Phichit prison, opened fire on relatives at his house in tambon Khlong Khachen of Muang district on Wednesday. Police arriving at the scene found four people dead and three others wounded.
The dead victims were the parents of the gunman’s wife, her son from a previous marriage and her younger brother. The injured were also her relatives, said Mr Somsak.
Thai media reported that Mr Phutthawat was arguing with his stepson who lived near his house when he pulled out a 9mm gun and fired shots at the younger man.
He then shot his wife’s parents and another family member in the head. Three other family members were also shot and wounded, according to Thairath Online.
When police arrived at the scene after being alerted around 12.30pm, the gunman was shooting at the fences of his house. It took the police almost 30 minutes to calm him down and take him to Muang police station for interrogation.
Thai media reported that he had argued with his stepson Theeradet Soncharoen, 37, after returning from a shift at the Phichit prison. He later shot dead his wife’s parents Daeng Makmoon, 69 and Ms Lamphueng Soncharoen, 67, and another family member.
Mr Somsak said that while police were investigating, the prison official was dismissed from civil service.
“The Corrections Department finds the Phichit prison official committed a serious breach of disciplinary and ordered his dismissal from the government office immediately,’’ said Mr Somsak.
The minister added he had assigned provincial officials at the Phichit justice office to meet the descendants of the victims to explain to them about the compensation for victims in a criminal case.
A compensation of 50,000 baht will be given to the descendants of a person who has been killed in a criminal case. They will also get 20,000 baht for the funeral fee and 40,000 baht for the loss of caretakers, or 110,000 baht in total, said Mr Somsak.
An injured victim is entitled to a remedy for medical fees up to 40,000 baht, a physical and mental rehabilitation fee of 20,000 baht and 320 baht a day for the loss of income based on the minimum daily wage in Phichit and other damages up to 50,000 baht.
Corrections Department chief Ayut Sinthoppan said on Thursday that the shooting took place while Mr Puttawan was on a seven-day leave from last Friday to Thursday.
An initial investigation found that the shooting was motivated by a family problem. The official had no conflict with anyone at the prison, said Mr Ayut.
The department has set up a committee to investigate the serious disciplinary violation and ordered the dismissal of Mr Puttawan pending the probe.