‘The guilt of not protecting my son is overwhelming’: Mother of boy, two, shot dead in Thai mall massacre hopes they’ll be ‘a happy family in the next life’ as hunt for killer continues.
The devastated mother of a two-year-old boy shot dead in a Thai shopping mall has told of her ‘overwhelming’ guilt that she couldn’t protect him.
Wilaiwan Wongyu was walking hand-in-hand with little Panuwich when a masked armed robber opened fire killing the little boy, a security guard and a shop assistant yesterday before escaping on a motorbike with £12,000 worth of gold and jewellery.
Heartbreaking CCTV shows Mrs Wongyu cradling her seriously injured son after the shooting before he was rushed to hospital where he later died.
She said today: ‘Everything has happened so fast, I was with him then he was gone.
‘The guilt of not being able to protect my son is overwhelming.
‘My husband and I love him so much that we can only hope we can be a happy family again in our next lives.’
The youngster was killed along with shop assistant Thidarat Thongthip, 31, and security guard Teerachat Nimma, 33, who both died at the scene.
Shocking CCTV footage shows the terrifying moment the robber opened fire during a botched gold store robbery in Lopburi, about 100 miles north of Bangkok at around 9 pm local time (2 pm UK time).
Footage shows the robber escaping on a motorcycle.
Local police claimed they already knew the identity of the gunman and were making every effort to track him down and would shoot him dead if he resisted arrest.
Police General Wirachai Songmetra said: ‘The incident was ruthless and callous. The robber shot innocent people including a young boy.
‘The provincial police have already gathered a lot evidence and information that will be useful.’
He added that they want the locals to participate in the finding of the ‘soulless shooter’ and offered a 500,000 baht (£12,000) reward to find him.
He said: ‘We believe the public will be helpful in this case and we want everybody to be aware of what is happening.
‘If people have any information about the robber, please contact the police immediately.’
Police Colonel Kritsana Pattanacharoen said: ‘We believe the robber has been trained in the use of weapons before this.
‘Studying the gestures he made when shooting, it is unlikely to be someone who has never used guns before.
‘The equipment he had was specialised and not something that is easily acquired. The search will continue in the morning.’
Witnesses said the boy’s mother was inconsolable as she wept and cradled her child after the shooting.
Mr Pattanacharoen said the police already knew the gunman’s identity and were searching for him.
He said: ‘The police are now patrolling all areas and are looking for the man.
‘Witnesses have described his appearance and we know his identity.
‘Moreover, we sent the force to the scene inspecting evidence including the fingerprints.
‘We will take this extremely seriously and if the gunman resists the arrest the police will shoot him without hesitation.’
CCTV shows the gunman fleeing on a motorcycle before police arrived on the scene.
He is believed to have robbed a gold store inside the mall and left with valuables.
Pictures from the mall show several wounded shoppers in pools of blood.