Authorities say the deputy governor of Pattani province, Soonthorn Rittipakdee, was visiting the scene of a previous shooting Tuesday when he was wounded.
Mr. Soonthorn was taken to a provincial hospital after the shooting. Police say he should survive the attack.
Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra said he believed the shooting was an accident, but did not elaborate.
Mr. Soonthorn is believed to be one of the highest-ranking casualties of sectarian violence that has claimed the lives of hundreds of people in southern Thailand since January.
The southern Thai provinces of Yala, Pattani and Narathiwat are the only Muslim-majority areas in the mostly Buddhist nation.Some information for this report provided by AFP.