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Gunman says fatal shootings were act of revenge

 A lone gunman held in the shooting deaths of two young men in Khok Pho Chai district claimed he acted out of revenge over an earlier brawl, police say.

Manphong Chamni-ngarn, 27, told investigators that one of the victims and his associates had assaulted him and opened fire at him at a merit-making event two weeks ago.

Police on Saturday took Mr Manphong, a resident of Ban Khok village in Khok Pho Chai district, for a re-enactment of the crime.

He has been charged with premeditated murder in the killing of two men at Ban Khok on Wednesday night.

Kokiart Chanasri, 18, was found dead with gunshot wounds to his head and chest when police responded to a call about a shooting at 8.30pm on March 31.

Theerayuth Faitee, 23, sustained gunshot wounds to his forehead and was rushed to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead shortly afterward.

The suspect surrendered to local police on Friday night.

On Saturday, police first took Mr Manphong to a Moo Krata pork barbecue shop, where he had gone with his wife on Wednesday evening. While they were there, he said, he had noticed Kokiart and Theerayuth eating nearby.

After the two men left on a motorcycle, Mr Manphong told his wife to finish her meal and wait for him. He then left on a motorcycle.

He parked his bike on a side street about 300 metres from the restaurant, near a house where Kokiart and Theerayuth were talking with another man, identified only as Tao.

The suspect told police that Theerayuth pulled out a gun when seeing him. He said he fired one shot at Theerayuth, striking him in the leg, but the latter ran away.

The gunman said he then turned the gun on Kokiart to silence him. The teenager died on the spot.

He then chased Theerayuth into a forested area behind another house nearby, firing two shots that gravely wounded him.

On Saturday, about 200 angry relatives and residents arrived at the crime re-enactment scene, hoping to get a glimpse of the accused.

But he was taken to the Khok Pho Chai police station before the crowd arrived. They then went to the station.

Pol Maj Gen Phutthiphong Musikul, chief of Khon Kaen, said the suspect surrendered to Khok Pho Chai police on Friday night.

During the interrogation, the suspect admitted to having shot the two victims, as he had been angered by the assault led by Theerayuth two weeks ago.

Discussing the night of the shootings, the suspect said he wanted to shoot Theerayuth alone, but the man was at the scene with Kokiart, who had to be silenced.

The suspect said he did not shoot Tao, the man the two victims had been talking with, as he was a close friend.

Pol Maj Gen Phutthiphong said the gunman claimed he acted alone, and that investigators were checking his story further.

Jamnian Nuangkaew, 42, the mother of Theerayuth, called for the death penalty against the gunman.

Natephat Drasee, 54, the grandmother of the dead teenager, also wanted police to press the harshest possible charges against the suspect.

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Suspect Manphong Chamni-ngarn is taken for a crime re-enactment on Saturday after being charged in the fatal shooting of two men in Khon Kaen on Wednesday. (Photo: Chakrapan Natanri)

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