The 9-year-old boy is the police officer’s grandson.
Phuket City Police Chief Col Sarawut Chuprasit spoke about the tragic shooting yesterday (Aug 8).
He assured that police were not ignoring the case. His comments followed growing pressure from comments online calling for Phuket police to publicly recognise the incident.
Col Sarawut explained that police were first informed of the shooting by staff at Phuket Provincial Hospital about 11am on Saturday.
The 7-year-old had suffered one gunshot to her upper left chest. She was pronounced dead at the hospital after being rushed from a home in Moo 3, Ratsada, where a merit making housewarming party was being held, Col Sarawut explained.
The police officer had placed his handgun, a Sig Sauer P320SP, in a bedside drawer in the upstairs bedroom at the home before joining the festivities downstairs.
The boy and his 7-year-old cousin went upstairs to play in the bedroom, Col Sarawut said.
The boy found the gun. Thinking it was a toy, he pointed it at his cousin and pulled the trigger, firing one shot into her chest.
Col Sarawut repeated that Phuket City Police are following proper procedure regarding the shooting.
However, police are pursuing charges against the 9-year-old boy for negligence causing the death of another person, he said.
The police officer who owns the gun and left it loaded and ready to fire in an unlocked drawer with children playing freely in the house is not even being investigated.
The police officer is a relative of the person who owns the home where the incident happened, he said.
Col Sarawut continued his defence of police action in the case by saying that the charge against the 9-year-old was procedural and expected to be a formality only, considering the child’s age and circumstances of the shooting.
The 9-year-old boy is being provided counselling by a psychologist, he said.
“In this case, we must go through the steps. The police have filed a charge of negligence causing the death of another person. But under the law, if the child is under 12 years old, while it is a real offence, it does not have to be punished.
“The case is being investigated by a psychologist, prosecutors and police officers together. After that, we will take the child to the detention centre.
“Let’s go through the procedures according to the rules," Col Sarawut said.
The mother was in deep grief, he noted.
However, according to Col Sarawut, the mother does not blame the police officer for the shooting.