Thai clerk charged with murder after shooting gunman in court

BANGKOK (AFP) – A legal clerk who ended a bloody Thai courtroom shooting by grabbing a firearm and killing the gunman has been arrested and charged with murder, police said yesterday.

Three people – two lawyers and the gunman – were shot dead at the Chanthaburi courthouse in eastern Thailand on Tuesday during a hearing over a drawn-out land dispute.

Police said Thanakorn Theeravarodom, a young paralegal working with the lawyers, grabbed the gun from a guard and shot the assailant, a retired police major general who was one of the litigants in the case.

The clerk was charged with “intentional killing”, Commander of Chanthaburi Provincial City Police Khomsorn Mabumrung told AFP. “He said it’s self-defence.”

Authorities said this week that the two sides in the case had been in court for more than 10 years arguing over a large plot of land. Thailand has high rates of gun ownership and petty personal disputes and romantic and business rivalries are often resolved with firearms.

But a series of courthouse shootings in Thailand have exposed flaws in the legal system’s security. More than a week ago three drug suspects shot and stabbed their way out of a court in the seaside town of Pattaya before being tracked down.