Cops: After Court Escape, Drug Suspect Shoots Wife, Self

American and his wife hoped to make it to Cambodia before capture in Thailand, police say
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 7, 2019 12:18 PM CST
Cops: After Court Escape, Drug Suspect Shoots Wife, Self
Bart Allen Helmus   (Thailand Department of Corrections via AP)

An American man is accused of stabbing a police officer in order to escape from a Thai court before shooting his wife and himself as authorities closed in. As of Thursday, Bart Allen Helmus and his Thai wife, Sirinapa Wisetrit, were both in serious condition in a hospital’s intensive care unit. Helmus is on a ventilator, while Wisetrit has bleeding in the brain, per the Bangkok Post. Both had been facing the death penalty on drug charges when authorities say they escaped from Pattaya Court on Monday alongside a Thai man who shot the officer with a gun he'd acquired from a visitor in prison. Helmus allegedly stabbed the same officer, who’d refused to hand over his keys, before the shackled suspects took off in a ute.

Noi Nilthes later surrendered at a sugarcane plantation in Sa Kaeo province. Helmus, 40, allegedly shot his wife and then himself, in the right temple, Wednesday as authorities descended on the couple's location a half-mile away and just 12 miles from the Cambodia border, per the Post and AP. By then, Helmus and Wisetrit—allegedly found with almost a kilogram of crystal meth, a gun, ammo, and thousands in cash during a sting operation in July—had moved several times in different vehicles, police say. An SUV was intended to carry the couple into Cambodia but was seized before the transport could take place, reports the Post. Police believe 10 of Noi's associates were involved in the escape, which had been planned for two months. (More Thailand stories.)

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