Three students were shot dead and their motorcycle set on fire after a crash involving a BMW sedan in Khao Phanom district of Krabi province in the early hours of Tuesday.
A 42-year-old man was later arrested after police surrounded a car tyre shop in tambon Phru Tiew in Khao Phanom.
A black BMW with Bangkok licence plates was found parked in the shophouse garage. The windscreen on the driver’s side was shattered.
Earlier on Tuesday, the Pracharuamjai rescue foundation was informed of a multiple fatal shooting on the Khao Phanom-Thung Yai Road in tambon Phru Tiew in Khao Phanom district about 1.29am.
Police and rescue workers were rushed to the scene. They found three teenage students, a boy and two girls, lying dead in the roadside grass with gunshot wounds. A burned motorcycle was on the road.
The dead boy was identified as Nonthaphan and the girls as Natnicha and Phanthira. All three were aged 18 years and were Mathayom Suksa 6 students at a high school in Khao Phanom district. Nonthaphan was shot in the face and the two schoolgirls were shot in the back. Their surnames were withheld.
Police inquiries led investigators to a shop in tambon Phru Tiew around 7.20am.
Police called out for the shophouse owner, identified later as Theerasak Boonruang, 42, to come out and talk to them. There was no response. Mr Theerasak's parents were asked to help.
About one hour later, Mr Theerasak partly opened the door. When police ran to arrest him, he fled towards a side door, carrying a handgun. After seeing his father standing near police, he dropped his gun to the ground. It was .357 calibre, police said. He was then taken into custody.
There was a shotgun in the house and many .357 bullet casings were found scattered on the floors, which were riddled with bullet holes.
Police said that during questioning, Mr Theerasak gave conflicting statements.
He allegedly admitted he took two methamphetamine pills on Monday night and drove the car from his wife’s house in tambon Khao Din back to his shophouse, alone.
On the way, his car was involved in an accident with a motorcycle. He got out of the car and used a shotgun to fire shots at the three people on the bike. He said he did not know them, according to police.
He denied he set fire to the motorbike, which he said caught fire in the crash.
Mr Theerasak was held in custody for legal action, police said.
Police said the slain students had left Phanthira’s home in tambon Phru Tiew on the motorcycle around midnight to sleep at Natnicha’s home in tambon Khao Phanom.
People driving along the road later saw the motorcycle burning and stopped to check. They found the dead students on the roadside.