May 9, 2021

Thailand shooting : Soldier killed 21 in a gun rampage in Korat

NFTV : International Desk: A Junior officer in the Thai army has killed at least 20 people in a gun rampage and injured 31 after he took hostages inside a shopping mall in Korat while taking selfies and live streaming on social media site Facebook.

The active-shooter opened fire and took people hostage in a shopping center in Korat, also known as Nakhon Ratchasima, in northeast Thailand. The shooter, whom police identified as a junior army officer, used his service assault rifle to kill at least 21 people in the area. Authorities said 49 others had been injured after being hit by bullets.

The suspect army officer seized arms and ammunition from the base before taking an armored military SUV type vehicle. He then opened fire at a number of sites before arriving at the Terminal 21 shopping centre. Local media footage appears to show the suspect getting out of his vehicle and firing shots as people flee. CCTV footage shows him inside the shopping center with a raised assault rifle. Other footage showed a fire outside the building, with some reports saying it was caused by a gas canister that exploded when it was hit with a bullet. One of the suspect’s social media posts features an image of himself with the fire in the background.

Police said around 11.30 pm that they had taken control of floors G, 1, 2 and 3 in the mall.

The army asked media outlets to stop providing live coverage in order to avoid giving the suspect information about official activities. The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission also warned that smartphone videos being streamed by people inside the mall were a potential threat to security operations.

The attacker streamed his earlier activity at the mall on Facebook Live and posted a selfie showing him holding a rifle. “Tired, I can barely move my fingers,” he said on a video posted at 7.20 pm.

The Facebook page was taken offline a few moments later. Facebook later confirmed that it had removed the account and would also take down “any other violating content related to this attack”.

“Our hearts go out to the victims, their families and the community affected by this tragedy in Thailand. There is no place on Facebook for people who commit this kind of atrocity, nor do we allow people to praise or support this attack,” a Facebook representative said in a statement.

Other text messages posted before the page was taken down included “Should I surrender?” and “Oh shit, I’ve got cramps in my hand.” An earlier post said, “Nobody can avoid death”, and another one read, “Being rich from taking advantage of others, do they think they can use money in hell?”

Lt Gen Thanya Kriatisarn, commander of the Second Army Region, identified the suspect as Sgt Maj Jakrapanth Thomma, 32, of the Surathampithak camp.

The slain commander has been identified as Col Anantharot Krasae, 48, with whom the gunman was reported to have had a conflict. A 63-year-old woman was also killed at the camp, along with another soldier.