Police Officer Charged Over Shooting Death of Girl, Age 6

The Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Sunday charged a municipal military police officer with unintentional murder for accidentally shooting dead a 6-year-old girl in Pur Senchey district on Friday.

Khan Daravuth, deputy chief of the municipal military police’s in­vestigations and justice department, said that Lim Lay, 31, a second lieutenant in the city’s military police force, was arguing with his wife at about 4 p.m. on Friday inside a house in Kakab commune when his handgun accidentally went off and a bullet struck the girl, who had been playing outside.

“His gun dropped to the ground and when it hit the ground, it fired accidentally,” Mr. Daravuth said. “The bullet ricocheted off a wall and ricocheted off a water container and then went through a window and hit the girl in the chest.”

Mr. Daravuth said that Mr. Lay’s gun had fallen out of its holster and hit the floor as he and his wife were pushing each other.

“After the accident, he took the girl to the hospital and then he knew that the girl was dead, so he came to the Phnom Penh municipal military police to turn himself in,” he said. “He said that he regretted that the bullet had hit the girl.”

Kakab commune chief Sok El confirmed the incident, but his version of what occurred differed from the military police’s account.

According to Mr. El, Mr. Lay had been at a friend’s home for a party when he got into an argument with his girlfriend.

His girlfriend tried to wrestle his gun out of its holster, and a round was discharged, hitting his friend’s daughter, Mr. El said.

“The girl was shot in her house and she died at the hospital,” he said, referring further questions to commune police chief San Peth, who could not be reached.

Mr. Daravuth said deputy prosecutor Khiev Phalla charged Mr. Lay with unintentional murder Sunday.

Mr. Phalla refused to discuss the case. “I have done my work and sent the case to the court’s administrators,” he said.

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