Justice Minister Somsak Thepsutin yesterday confirmed a prison official in Phichit shot dead four members of his wife’s family, including both parents, and wounded three others.
Mr Thepsutin discounted stress caused by work as a factor, and said a family dispute was behind the shooting.
He yesterday expressed his regret at the loss of lives and injuries in Wednesday’s shooting.
Puttawan Manpan, 51, an official at Phichit prison, opened fire on relatives at his house in tambon Khlong Khachen of Muang district. Police arriving at the scene found four people dead and three others wounded.
The dead victims were the parents of the gunman’s wife, her son from a previous marriage and her younger brother. The injured were also her relatives, said Mr Thepsutin.
His sudden loss of control led to speculation he might have been under a lot of work pressure but authorities denied that was the case.
Thai media reported that Phutthawat was arguing with his stepson who lived near his house when he pulled out a 9mm gun and fired at the younger man.
He then shot his wife’s parents and another family member in the head. Three other family members were also shot and wounded, according to Thairath Online.
When police arrived at the scene after being alerted around 12.30pm, the gunman was shooting at the fence of his house. It took officers almost 30 minutes to calm him down and take him to Muang police station for questioning.
The media reported that he had argued with his stepson Theeradet Soncharoen, 37, after returning from a shift at Phichit prison. He later shot dead his wife’s parents Daeng Makmoon, 69, and Lamphueng Soncharoen, 67, and another family member.
Mr Thepsutin said that while police were investigating, the prison official had been dismissed from the civil service.
“The Corrections Department found the Phichit prison official committed a serious breach of discipline and ordered his immediate dismissal from government service,” he said.