LAWYER QUESTIONS WHETHER SOLDIER BLAMED FOR SHOOTING IS REAL CULPRIT
DOUBTS ARE growing as to whether the soldier identified as the prime suspect in a recent fatal checkpoint shooting is the real culprit.
Private Wichai Jampa was handed over to the Provincial Police Region 5 headquarters yesterday afternoon.
But lawyer Songkran Achariyasap – who also heads a group protecting the nation, religions and monarchy – said photos of officials at the checkpoint did not show Wichai holding the type of gun used in the death of Sornchai Sathitrakdamrong on the night of January 2.
“His signature does not even appear on the list of persons signing in to man the checkpoint that night,” Songkran said.
Provincial Police Region 5 chief Pol Lt-General Poonsap Prasertsak, has so far insisted that Wichai must have been the real culprit because he confessed to the crime.
“Wichai said he thought Sornchai intentionally refused to stop for a search and without thinking things through, just opened fire and his bullet killed Sornchai,” Poonsap said.
Sornchai’s girlfriend, who was travelling with him that night, said they did not see any official at the checkpoint. The incident occurred during New Year holidays in Chiang Rai province. Wichai is now charged with murder for allegedly shooting Sornchai.
He was the second suspect to have been charged in connection with Sornchai’s death.
On January 5, assistant village head Wutthichai Injai was arrested for the shooting. Police said witnesses saw Wutthichai pull out the gun that night. Wutthichai insisted he fired into the sky.
Sornchai’s family have called for a thorough and transparent investigation.
On Thursday, test results showed the fatal bullet was fired from an M16 assault rifle. Wutthichai’s gun is a 9mm. “Even if Wutthichai shot into the sky, he still violated laws. It’s illegal to fire in public places like that,” Poonsap said.
Songkran yesterday submitted photos and documents that could be used as evidence in the case to Deputy National Police Commissioner Pol General Srivara Ransibrahmanakul to ensure that there will be no scapegoat in the case.
“In the photo are apparently also some senior military officers,” Songkran said.
Srivara said he would assign the Crime Suppression Division to join the investigation into the death.
“We will clear lingering doubts. We will go into details [about] who were at the checkpoint that night and how many guns were at the scene,” he said.