Police said an unknown number of assailants fired a volley of bullets into the victims who were in a pickup truck at a bridge at the entrance of Tambon Tano Pute in Bannang Sata.
All three persons in the pickup were killed. They ware identified as Iea Srithong, 46, Chaleaw Pikulklin, 49 and Urai Thapthong, 42. Ms Urai was beheaded after being shot to death.
Investigators said the three were returning from a meeting in Bannang Sata disrict office before the gun attack occurred at about 2.45pm yesterday.
The village head's .38 handgun was taken by the attackers.
In the nearby province of Pattani, a woman defence volunteer was killed in a gun attack while riding a motorcycle home in Pattani's Khok Pho district.
The attack occurred at around 4.40pm on Road Number 410 (Pattani provincial seat-Nong Chik), when two men on a motorcycle followed and shot her.