Police in Thailand are being subjected to random checks on their physical and mental health, officials said Thursday, after a 27-hour standoff in which a senior officer holed up and fired a gun in the air before being overpowered by colleagues.
Police Lt. Col. Kitikarn Sangbun died in a hospital on Wednesday night from multiple gunshot wounds sustained during the altercation at his home on the outskirts of the capital Bangkok, said Police Lt. Col. Rangsan Sornsing, superintendent of the police station in the Sai Mai district 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 has ordered random health checks on officers across the country to avoid similar situations. The public is also encouraged to report cases of concern about the mental health of officers.
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Kitikarn was hiding at his home on Tuesday when colleagues came to take him for psychiatric treatment, Deputy National Police Chief Gen. Torsak Sukvimol and other officials said. He shot in the air and in the direction of the police arriving at the scene.
The police evacuated and cordoned off the area while trying various methods to arrest him. In addition to initially using tear gas and stun guns to evacuate him, a junior officer chanted to Kitikarn to calm him down, intermittently telling him to turn himself in.
But as the confrontation escalated, shots were exchanged between Kitikarn and the officers besieging him.
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Video released by police of the end of the confrontation showed Kitikarn, dressed in shorts and a T-shirt and holding a carving knife in his left hand, as he smashed through a second-story window and jumped into a small, crowded backyard. He lay stunned for several seconds until police officers in full tactical gear burst out the back door of the house and roughly arrested him.
Torsak said an autopsy conducted on Thursday showed Kitikarn suffered six gunshot wounds and died from loss of blood.
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Torsak and other senior police officials expressed regret that the situation turned deadly and said police only used real bullets after exhausting all other means to bring the situation under control.
Thailand’s deadliest massacre occurred in October, when a former police officer shot and killed 36 people at a daycare center. The country’s worst mass killing to date involved a disgruntled soldier who opened fire in and around a mall in the northeastern city of Nakhon Ratchasima in 2020, killing 29 people and delaying security forces for about 16 hours before he was finally killed by them.
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