A 49-year-old Royal Cambodian Armed Forces lieutenant in Battambang province shot and killed his wife and their 3-year-old daughter on Wednesday evening before turning the gun on himself, local officials said Thursday.
Rith Thy, who worked at a military barracks in Phnom Proek district’s Pichr Chenda commune, drove his family toward the base at about 7:30 p.m. on his motorbike. But just before they arrived, he pulled over onto the side of the road and shot them with his K-54 pistol, according to commune chief Nob Sat.
“The shooting occurred on the road near his workplace, about 50 meters away from Seuk Rang Srok Phnom Proek [base],” Mr. Sat said.
“He fired his gun three times— one bullet for his daughter, the second bullet for his wife, and the third he used on himself,” he said.
Mr. Sat said the suspect died instantly, but that his wife, Sok Panha, 27, who was also hit in the chest, and his daughter, Chan Na, who was struck under her right armpit, were both still alive when soldiers from the base reached them. They did not, however, survive the 20-km journey to the nearest military hospital.
The couple had been married for five years, the commune chief said, but their relationship was tempestuous and they had been arguing shortly before driving to the base on Wednesday, according to neighbors.
“Their neighbors said they were always arguing with each other and it was usually caused by [Rith Thy’s] jealousy and a tendency to fly into rages as a result of his career as a soldier,” he said.
District police chief Song Sopheak said there were no witnesses to the murders, so he did not know whether they were premeditated or sparked by an argument.
“The husband’s jealousy was causing problems in their family, and last week, he asked his wife for a divorce and wanted his daughter to live with him, Mr. Sopheak said.
“His wife agreed to the divorce, but his daughter wanted to stay with her mother.”