The Chon Buri chief public prosecutor on Monday charged an engineer with murder with intent for shooting to death a 17-year-old student in a case that has divided social media users.
Chon Buri chief public prosecutor Chingchai Chotesaeng read the charge to Suthep Poshsomboon at the Chon Buri Public Prosecutor Office. Suthep was also charged with carrying a gun in public without justification.
The shooting took place on February 4 in Chon Buri’s Muang district following a dispute over car parking at a local market in Ang Sila between Suthep and a group of teenagers. The dispute was followed by a road-rage incident and a fist fight.
Suthep argued that he shot the teenager in self-defence when the teenager and his friends blocked his car with their van and surrounded his car.
He said he feared for his and his wife’s safety.
There has been heated online debate on the incident after the victim’s mother, sister and friends made strong public comments.
Celebrities have also voiced their opinions on social media, with many sympathising with the engineer.
While many people say the shooting was justified, many others have demanded justice for the slain boy.
Chingchai said four teenagers who surrounded Suthep’s car were charged with attacking the authorities who had intervened. They were also charged with collaborating to carry out assaults.
Chingchai said the van driver was also charged with obstructing traffic for blocking Suthep’s car.
Chingchai said he tried to be fair to both sides.
After hearing the charges, Suthep talked to reporters with tears in his eyes.
He said he would defend himself in court.
He said he was simply trying to defend himself and his wife, so he did not expect to be charged with murder with intent.
He questioned why the teens had not been charged with murder.
“Did they have to kill me or my family first,” he said.
Sahaparp Wongthamcharoen, the father of the slain schoolboy, said on Monday that had the public prosecutor not charged Suthep with murder, he would have filed a lawsuit with a court.