Three children and one man were brutally murdered in two separate incidents in in Ratanakkiri province early Sunday, after a man went on a murderous rampage that ended with his killing at the hands of the police.
Sak Srun, governor of O’Chum district, said the ordeal started in Prak village, an ethnic Tumpuon community, at about 3am Sunday, when 32-year-old Kheng Kry of Kampong Cham province allegedly stabbed and killed his 61-year-old brother.
Authorities had not yet concluded the reasoning behind the initial homicide, but Sak Srun said the offender had failed in an attempt to rape the victim’s wife.
After learning of the murder, police sent officers to intercept Kheng Kry, but he managed to escape and fled, taking refuge in the house of a Tumpuon family about five kilometres from the scene.
Kheng Kry is then alleged to have raped a 5-year-old girl in the house and killed her and her two brothers, aged three and eight, by slitting their throats with a knife, said Pen Bonnar, the provincial monitor for rights group Adhoc.
He also stabbed three other family members when they tried to intervene.
Sak Srun said police had requested the higher authorities for permission to use more force against the suspect.
“They didn’t allow [police] to shoot the offender. They tried to arrest the murderer but they couldn’t because it was too dark, which allowed him to run away and kill three more people,” he said.
Sak Srun said the decision was eventually made to use lethal force against the accused, who would otherwise have “killed more people”.
The motive for the rampage remains a mystery, but Pen Bonnar said police were discussing a theory that the murderous behaviour stemmed from a reaction to malaria medication, which caused the man to “become insane”.
He added that Adhoc planned to investigate the validity of the “theory”, as well as the shooting of the offender by police.
Thach Sipha, deputy police chief of O’Chum district, said a motive for the homicide had not been established Sunday, but admitted that police had shot Kheng Kry because he had “cruelly continued his actions”.
“The case will be further investigated, and the results will be released later,” he said.