Police in Thailand will be subject to random checks of their physical and mental health, officials said on Thursday, following a 27-hour standoff in which a senior officer took cover and fired a gun into the air until subdued by other officers.
Police Lieutenant Colonel Kitikarn Sangbun died in a hospital on Wednesday night from multiple gunshot wounds suffered during the standoff at his home on the outskirts of the capital Bangkok, said Police Colonel Rangsan Sornsing, superintendent of the police station. in the Sai Mai neighborhood where the standoff took place.
Kitikarn suffered from mental health issues and stress in his work and personal life, police said, without elaborating.
Thai media reported that the Office of the Inspector General of Police ordered random health checks to be carried out on police officers across the country to help prevent similar situations. Members of the public are also encouraged to report instances where they are concerned about the mental health of officers.
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Kitikarn hid in his home on Tuesday when fellow officers came to take him away for psychiatric treatment, deputy national police chief General Torsak Sukvimol and other officials said. He fired into the air and towards the officers who arrived at the scene.
Police evacuated and cordoned off the surrounding area while trying various methods to apprehend him. In addition to initially using tear gas and stun guns in an attempt to evacuate him, a junior officer sang to Kitikarn in an attempt to calm him down, intermittently asking him to turn himself in.
But as the confrontation escalated, shots were exchanged between Kitikarn and the officers surrounding him.
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Video of the end of the confrontation released by police showed Kitikarn, dressed in shorts and a T-shirt and holding a carving knife in his left hand, smashing through a second-story window and jumping into a small, cluttered yard. He was stunned for several seconds until police in full tactical gear rushed out the back door of the house, grabbing him tightly.
Torsak said an autopsy performed on Thursday showed that Kitikarn suffered six gunshot wounds and died of blood loss.
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Torsak and other senior officers lamented that the situation had turned deadly, saying the police used live bullets only after exhausting other means to control the situation.
Thailand’s deadliest massacre occurred in October, when a former police officer shot and killed 36 people at a day care center. The country’s previous worst mass killing involved a disgruntled soldier who opened fire in and around a shopping mall in the northeastern city of Nakhon Ratchasima in 2020, killing 29 people and hampering security forces for about 16 hours. before being killed by them.