US fugitive shoots pregnant wife hostage, self in standoff with Thai police

From left, suspect Ton Nintet, US national Bart Allen Helmus, and Sirinapa Wisetrit lying by his body.
From left, suspect Ton Nintet, US national Bart Allen Helmus, and Sirinapa Wisetrit lying by his body.

An American fugitive shot his pregnant Thai wife he was holding hostage before turning a gun on himself today during a standoff with police in the far eastern reaches of Thailand.

Two days after the couple and a third suspect held on drug-related charges stabbed a cop in a daring Pattaya courtroom escape, Bart Allen Helmus shot Sirinapa Wisetrit, his three-months pregnant wife, who he’d taken hostage as police closed in on their whereabouts. He then turned the gun on himself. 

Sirinapa was mildly injured and taken to a hospital. Helmus was taken to a hospital.

Acting on a tip, police moved in on the three suspects in Sa Kaeo’s Wattananakorn district – just a few kilometers from the border with Cambodia – after their dramatic and violent escape from the Chonburi province courtroom where they were to be tried on a variety of drug-related charges.

Update: American fugitive who shot Thai wife hostage ‘brain dead’

It was during negotiations with police that Helmus took Sirinapa hostage. The third suspect, Ton Nintet, surrendered to police.

It had been nearly two full days since a manhunt was launched for the trio after they were filmed by a security camera stabbing Capt. Thanamet Pothipan with a knife and forcing a guard to give them keys, at which point they managed to escape the premises and drive away in a pickup truck. 

Correction: An earlier version of this story stated that Helmus was sent to a hospital and pronounced dead. It’s unclear at this time whether he has died or remains in an unresponsive state.

Related:

‘Extremely Dangerous’: Pattaya police extend dragnet for American, Thais, accused of stabbing cop in daring courthouse escape 

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