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Army band leader suspects colleague killed him

The wife of an army band leader slain by a motorcycle gunman on Wednesday night believes the killer is another solider living in the same camp.

Kanittha Phansawat, 33, said  on Friday it would have been too difficult for an outsider to enter the camp, commit the murder and then leave it.

Her husband, Sub Lt Rungchalerm Pansawasdi, 34, was the leader of the Band Platoon at the 210th Military Circle Headquarters in Muang district.

He was shot dead near the platoon office about 7.30pm on Wednesday,  

Ms Kanittha said her husband did have a conflict with his supervisor, who had ordered an  investigation into his claim for fuel expenses for official travel, which breached regulations.

However, her husband had made an honest mistake, had explained it fully and was not disciplined. That should not have been a motive for murder, she said.

Ms Kanittha said her husband had also played gigs as a musician outside the camp. He may have had several female acquaintances and been mistakenly suspected of having an affair with someone’s girlfriend.

She had been married to him for eight years and he had never had an affair.

Prior to the murder, they had gone in their car to pick up their six-year-old son from school. They returned to the camp about 7pm. She drove him from their house to his office and returned home alone.

Ms Kanittha said her husband was shot dead while riding his motorcycle back from his office to their house in the camp, about 500 metres away.

The area was dark and the gunman seemed to know her husband’s routine, she said. He was shot three times, in the head and neck.

The family moved from Pattani province in the far South to Nakhon Phanom in the Northeast in 2017, she said.

On Thursday a police source said Sub Lt Rungchalerm had applied for a transfer to the 2nd Army Region headquarters, citing a conflict with a colleague.

On Friday, police tested 23 soldiers in the camp for gunshot residue. All were members of Sub Lt Rungchalerm’s band.

Police believe the gunman fled the crime scene on a motorcycle through a natural opening at the rear of the camp. A surveillance camera there was not working because of an  electrical problem, and there were no lights.

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