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Man admits firing shots at school

Man admits firing shots at school

A man facing a charge of attempted murder after 18 gunshots were fired into a primary school’s grounds on Sunday has allegedly explained that he was angered by the daily noise from the school’s morning activities. There were no injuries.

Wutthiphong Chalermwuthanon, 43, was arrested on Sunday night after police and soldiers surrounded the four-storey building he resides in opposite Ming Xin School in tambon Khao Niwet of Muang district of Ranong. Three guns were also seized, reportedly a 9mm handgun, a .22 handgun and a .22 long gun.

Mr Wutthiphong’s father Suwan Chalermwuthanon, 75, was also taken in for questioning at Muang police station in Ranong.

About 3pm on Sunday a multitude of shots were fired into the activities ground of the private primary school from the building opposite. About eight students had been practising at the school for a coming contest. When shots were fired from the four-storey building opposite they fled to another school building.

A teacher rushed to the ground floor and was able to make a video of shots being fired from the building opposite.

A total of 18 shots were fired, according to police. Two spent bullets were found in the school grounds, it was reported. There were no injuries.

Police handed Mr Wutthiphong over to military authorities at Infantry Company 2521 for questioning under martial law provisions.

Pol Maj Gen Cherdphong Chiewpreecha, chief of Ranong police, said on Monday that authorities had decided on Sunday to use martial law to arrest the suspect.

On Monday night, Mr Wutthiphong allegedly admitted he was upset by the loud noise from the school’s daily morning activities, and it drove him to fire the shots at the school on Sunday.

Police said the suspect will be charged with attempted murder and they would revoke the licences he held for the three seized firearms.

Pol Maj Gen Cherdphong said on Tuesday that the suspect had confessed to military interrogators. 

Police would prepare a case and apply for a court arrest warrant for Mr Wutthiphong, and oppose bail because he was considered a dangerous person. 

On Sunday, Phornsin Srisuphan, deputy director of the school, told reporters that a group of students had been at the school practising for a contest. It was not reported what kind of contest.

When the shots were fired from outside the school wall, students rushed to inform him what was happening. He ordered the teacher on duty to videotape the incident.  

He alleged the suspect had in a previous incident also fired shots because he was upset by the loud noise emanating from the school. He had killed a pigeon. The school had filed a complaint with police, according to Mr Phornsin.

The school had tried to solve the problem of loud noise by installing a sound-proof wall, he said.

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