Police were called to the hospital, the main government hospital on the island, after the incident was reported at 9:30am.
Phuket City Police Chief Col Pratuang Pholmana arrived along with other high-ranking Phuket City Police officers to find the suspect, Thanakorn Thongek, 30, still carrying his handgun, a CZ 2075 RAMI semi-automatic pistol, on his right hip. Thanakorn was also still carrying 13 bullets.
Officers chained and locked the wheels of his pickup, an Isuzu D-Max four-door pickup truck, to ensure that it would remain in custody as evidence.
Thanakorn was taken to Phuket City Police Station, where he was held while a man named by police only as “Mr Natthapat” related his version of events to police.
Mr Natthapat said he was following behind Thanakorn’s pickup through the car park since they entered the building on the ground floor. Mr Natthapat’s mother was in the car as he was taking her for her scheduled appointment.
The incident happened on the fifth floor, where Thanakorn drove past an empty parking space then stopped, intending to reverse into it.
However, Mr Natthapat was too close behind, and at first gave a short honk on his horn to warn that he was behind the pickup. He then gave another, long, honk.*
In response, Thanakorn then exited his pickup to tell Mr Nattaphat that he wanted to back into the parking space. The exact words used remain in dispute.
Mr Natthapat said that when he realised what Thanakorn wanted to do, he reversed his car to give the pickup enough space. After Thanakorn had parked his pickup, Mr Natthapat drove by.
However, after Mr Natthapat’s car was already some distance away, Thanakorn pulled his handgun out from the pickup cab, walked several paces to get a clear shot from in front of his pickup, and fired at his new-found adversary’s car.
The bullet missed its mark. Forensics officers later confirmed that the bullet struck the front bumper of a parked Honda car and lodged in the car’s engine bay.
Footage from security CCTV cameras in the car park seem to uphold Mr Natthapat’s version of events. However, officers were still continuing their investigation, police said.
One of Thanakorn’s uncles came to his defence, saying Thanakorn had suffered mental and emotional trauma since his father had passed away. Thanakorn reportedly had seen doctors over his depression.
Thanakorn started playing with guns two years ago, and regularly practiced at Phuket Shooting Range, the uncle said.
The uncle also accused Mr Natthapat and his mother for their part in Thanakorn’s response to the situation.
Regardless, police have now filed against Thanakorn preliminary charges of attempted murder along with carrying and discharging a firearm in a public place while they continue their investigation.
* Correction: It was Mr Natthapat who honked his horn, not Thanakorn. The error is regretted.
Kurt | 08 March 2023 - 13:48:45