An American fugitive shot his wife and then himself in the temple as police in Thailand closed in to apprehend them, after they staged a brazen escape from a courthouse in Pattaya Thailand.
The couple and another inmate made a brazen escape from a court holding room in the city of Pattaya on Monday. They wounded a police officer before fleeing in a pickup truck.
On Wednesday, they were tracked down in Sa Kaeo province in eastern Thailand. The US man Bart Allen Helmus, 39 took his wife hostage in the ensuing stand-off with police.
As officers approached the couple to seek their surrender. Helmus pointed a gun at his wife and told police not to come near.
American Shoots Wife and Himself
Satawat said Helmus, shot his Thai wife first and then shot himself in his right temple. Helmus was hospitalized in serious condition, while his wife’s injury was less serious, he added.
The Pattaya news media reported that Bart Helmus later died of his injuries.
Sirinapa and Helmus were arrested for a drug trafficking charge carrying a possible death sentence. The couple, along with a Thai man facing the same charge, escaped while being moved from a holding area to a courtroom.
CCTV footage showed one person, believed to be Helmus, stabbing a guard who tried to stop them. He forced another guard at gunpoint to hand over keys to unlock a secured area. They made their getaway in a nearby pickup truck.
Police discovered the truck abandoned on a highway in Pattaya, Thailand
Utilizing tips from the public and CCTV Thai police found the escape vehicle Tuesday abandoned on a highway South of Pattaya.
After a tip-off, they tracked the fugitives to a village in Sa Kaeo province. Approximately 20 kilometres (12 miles) from Thailand’s border with Cambodia.
When police arrived in the area, the third escapee, Noi Nilthes, gave himself up along with his girlfriend. His girlfriend allegedly assisted the group with the escape.
Arrested in Pattaya Police Sting Operation
Helmus and his wife were arrested in July in a sting operation. Undercover police agent bought 10 grams (a third of an ounce) of crystal methamphetamine from them.
Pattaya Police said they seized almost a kilogram (2.2 pounds) of the drug from them; as well as a gun with 200 bullets and 205,500 baht (US$6,800) in cash.
The two surviving fugitive suspects and all the accomplices are all expected to be returned to the Pattaya Remand Prison and face many additional charges.
Police believe there may be additional accomplices and the investigation continues into the escape.
Pattaya is a popular tourist destination but is also infamous for vice and crime, attracting more than its share of foreign criminals.