An American man is in a coma in Thailand after escaping police custody, then shooting himself in the head as police closed in on him and his girlfriend, according to authorities.
On Monday,American Bart Allen Helmus, 39, from Kentucky and his Thai girlfriend Sirinapa Wisetrit, 30, were in court in the city of Pattaya accused of trafficking 1 kilo of methamphetamine and carrying a gun, Thai police said.
Trafficking serious drugs — such as heroin and methamphetamine — can carry a sentence of life imprisonment or death in Thailand.
American Escape from Court in Pattaya Thailand
The pair managed to escape from the court using a knife and a gun provided by a third man. He was in court also on unrelated drugs charges, the commissioner-general of the Royal Thai Police, Chakthip Chaijinda, said.
During the escape, Helmus allegedly stabbed a court official who is being treated for serious injuries. The pair and the third man, 40-year-old Thai national Ton Ninthet, then fled in a getaway car, according to police.
The couple were planning to escape to neighboring Cambodia, over 124 miles away, police said. Following the escape, Thai police launched a three-day manhunt for the couple and Ninthet.
American Shoots Himself During Capture
On Wednesday, police caught Ninthet in the southeastern Sa Kaeo province, which borders Cambodia. Later that afternoon, police found Helmus and Wisetrit hiding in a rural area in the same province. Police said Helmus had shot himself in the head, while Wisetrit had a graze on her forehead from where the bullet had hit her.
Helmus is in a Sa Kaeo hospital in a coma, while Wisetrit is also in hospital being treated for her injuries, police confirmed.
According to Chaijinda, the three suspects, American Helmus, Wisetrit and Ninthet, hatched their escape plan after meeting during their court appearances. Ten of Ninthet’s family and friends allegedly helped the trio escape. Using five different escape cars, police said.
All 10 have been arrested for helping the trio escape, and are due to appear in court on Friday.
News Source: CNN Thailand, Pattaya News