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 Thursday. 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 say 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", Khomsorn Mabumrung, commander of Chanthaburi provincial city police, told AFP."He said it's self-defense."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 including an American -- shot and stabbed their way out of a court in the seaside town of Pattaya before being tracked down. Early last month a Thai judge in the insurgency-battered south shot himself in the chest in front of a packed court after acquitting several murder suspects and decrying the judicial system.