A gunman who fired dozens of shots in central Bangkok early yesterday was not imitating the mass shooting in Nakhon Ratchasima last weekend but will face two charges, said police.
No injuries were reported after Ekachai Jaruksin opened fire in Pathumwan district, but damage to nearby property was being assessed.
“We are preparing to charge him with illegally carrying guns and firing them without a sound reason,” Pol Maj Gen Piya Tawichai, deputy chief of the Metropolitan Police Bureau, said yesterday after questioning Mr Ekachai.
After detaining the suspect, police found the 48-year-old had fired the shots in anger over family and business problems.
Initial reports of the incident prompted concern Mr Ekachai might be imitating last Saturday’s deadly rampage by a soldier at Terminal 21 shopping mall in Nakhon Ratchasima’s Muang district, who killed 29 people and left 58 injured.
The Terminal 21 gunman, who was later killed by police commandos, is thought to have been motivated by a personal conflict with his commanding officer over a military housing project.
“But this suspect had no intention of shooting anyone,” Pol Maj Gen Piya told reporters.
Mr Ekachai said he fired the guns to “unleash stress”, the deputy chief said.
According to investigators, the suspect owned four registered guns, two of which were used in the incident — a Colt .45 handgun and Glock 9mm pistol.
Police are considering revoking his gun licences because of his dangerous behaviour, Pol Maj Gen Piya said.
Mr Ekachai fired the guns from a sports clothing shop on Soi Chula 10 Road in Bangkok’s Pathumwan district around 4am, police said.
Police cordoned off the area, which is not far from the district’s Royal Thai Police Office.
A witness said he was sitting nearby with friends when he heard shots from the rooftop of the two-storey shop. One shot was fired in the direction of his group, which ran for cover.
Police negotiators, joined by the Mr Ekachai’s brother, eventually talked the suspect into surrendering before he was taken to Pathumwan police station at 10.40am.
He admitted taking crystal meth on Thursday, city police chief Pol Lt Gen Phukphong Phongpetra said.