Thammasat Gardener Turned Gunman Says Poverty Insult Led to Killing

Blood marks the scene of a fatal shooting Friday morning in the main administrative building of Thammasat University's Rangsit campus

By Pravit Rojanaphruk
Senior Staff Writer

BANGKOK — A university gardener who shot his fellow employee to death Friday, did it out of anger resulting from being looked down on, said a police investigator. He added that the man could face the face death penalty.

Somnuek Kaewtham, 55, head gardener at Thammasat University’s Rangsit Campus in Pathum Thani province, told Col. Prasert Waenkaew that he became enraged at 58-year-old Amnart Niyomsakdi when he was buying tangerines  Friday morning.

Somnuek alleges that he was verbally abused by his colleague, at around 10 am Friday, as being too poor to buy more fruit.

Somnuek told Col. Prasert that they knew each other. Following the altercation he was then challenged to a fist fight. Since he was carrying a .357 revolver Somnuek flashed the gun to threaten Amnart. Amnart then allegedly threatened back saying that he would report the incident to the university administrator, Somnuek told police. This enraged Somnuek further. The suspect claims this led to him shooting the victim in his right chest with a single bullet. Amnart was pronounced dead in hospital.

Prasert said Somnuek was arrested in the vicinity of the campus on Friday night and has since confessed to the crime.  He has been charged with premeditated murder, which carries a death penalty.

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