MAE HONG SON
Canadian tourist is shot dead
Policeman faces murder charge after scuffle with drunk couple
Published on January 7, 2008
A Canadian tourist was shot dead and his wife wounded early yesterday morning near a pub in Mae Hong Son province after a scuffle with a policeman.
Pol Sgt-Major Uthai Dechawiwat claimed shots were fired accidentally after the foreign couple tried to snatch his pistol from him.
The 37-year-old policeman, who was released on bail after being charged with murder and manslaughter, said he had struggled to get his service pistol back from John Leo Del Pinto and his wife Carly Reisig.
He said he had used the gun to threaten them when he was down on the ground after the couple beat him up.
Del Pinto, 25, took a shot in the mouth, from which the bullet travelled through his shoulder, and another shot on the left side of his torso, while Reisig, 24, was shot on the left side of her torso.
Uthai initially fled but give himself up to Pai police not long afterwards.
Quoting witnesses, case investigator Pol Lt-Colonel Sombat Panya said the couple had been drinking in a local pub called Ting Tong. They became involved in a drunken brawl after Del Pinto, who recently arrived in Thailand, found out that Reisig had become pregnant with a Thai man known as Fuen.
The couple continued arguing after they left the pub when Uthai arrived at the scene, near a bridge, on personal business. Uthai approached them and asked them to be calm but both foreigners turned to attack him.
The officer said Uthai was beaten to the ground by the couple. After managing to get up, Uthai pointed his service pistol to threaten away both foreigners, but Del Pinto tried to snatch the pistol from him. After a scuffle, shots were fired and the couple went down.
Del Pinto died at the scene at about 2am and Reisig was sent to a hospital in Chaing Mai, where she is in a safe condition.
Sombat said he had not interviewed Reisig about what happened and no offence had yet been filed against her.