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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Shooting suspect turns up dead in Stung Treng

Shooting suspect turns up dead in Stung Treng

The prime suspect in a tragic shooting in Phnom Penh on Monday that claimed the life of a 26-year-old woman and her nine-month-old nephew was beaten to death while drinking with friends in Stung Treng town on Tuesday night.

Stung Treng town police chief Chhouk Kumol said yesterday the man had been killed by three of his drinking mates in Stung Treng commune’s Reacheanukol Village.

Kumol said the killers had escaped the scene, but said he was unsure whether the man was the one who committed the double homicide.

“I do not know that the victim was involved in shooting two people to death and injuring one in Phnom Penh, but the victim truly has been beaten to death by his drinking buddies, who have escaped,” he said.

The suspects were locals and the victim was the son    of a former military official who works in Stung Treng, Kumol said.

The victim, 21-year-old Van Chetra, was a motorcycle mechanic, he said.

But Por Sen Chey police chief Born Sam Art said Chetra was indeed the gunman who had opened fire on Canadia Bank worker Tith Theara, her sister Tith Somalen, a former singer, and Somalen’s year-old son outside their Por Sen Chey home on Monday.

The assailant shot Theara six times and the boy twice, killing both. Somalen was also shot, but survived.

Sam Art said he had played a video of the Stung Treng murder victim to Somalen and her relatives, who subsequently identified the deceased as her sister’s killer.

After an investigation into both cases, police had concluded that the man murdered in Stung Treng was the person responsible for the Por Sen Chey killings, he said.

After the shooting, Chetra had returned to Stung Treng immediately, perhaps to coll-ect money for carrying out the killings, Sam Art said.

Stung Treng police officials said Chetra was a known gang leader in Stung Treng and police had issued a warrant for his arrest.

Police believe Somalen was the intended target of the original shooting, and are continuing to investigate.

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