Two men died late Saturday night when their partners accidentally shot them in a shootout near a dark house in Siem Reap province, police said Sunday.
The two men, who had not been identified late Sunday afternoon, were part of a six-man gang trying to break into a Chikreng district home, district police Chief Touch Kosal said.
After the shootout, police found one of the men’s bodies behind the house the men allegedly were trying to break into, while the other man, apparently a former soldier around 30 years old, was found dead beneath the house, Touch Kosal said.
Four other men escaped by running into the nearby forest, Touch Kosal said. Police recovered an AK-47 assault rifle they left behind. The six were trying to burgle shop owner Hut Chea, 35, in Lveang R’Sey commune, Chikreng district. But the owner’s dogs barked, awakening him, Touch Kosal said.
Hut Chea ran out the back door of his home, leaving his wife and children sleeping inside. In the dark of night, the robbers probably couldn’t tell which of the shadowy forms around the house was the home owner, Touch Kosal said.
One of the men opened fire, shooting six or seven bullets, Touch Kosal said. They missed Hut Chea, but fatally struck the two dead men.
Police believe the gang was armed with four assault rifles, although Touch Kosal said some witnesses reported all six would-be burglars had guns.
The men probably targeted Hut Chea because he was reputed to be one of the richest people in the commune, Touch Kosal said.
“He is a seller, that is why he is rich,” the police chief said.
Police were asking villagers to help them identify the dead men, Touch Kosal said.
“If nobody knows their names, I will bury the two corpses,” he said.
Police are looking for the other four suspects, but have few leads as to who they might be, Touch Kosal said.