Thai officials have confirmed that the soldier who killed at least 21 and injured 31 others had been shot dead by the police inside a mall in northeastern Thailand. On Saturday, the shooter, angry over a financial dispute, killed two people and then went on a rampage in northeastern Thailand as he drove to a busy mall, international media reported.
On Sunday morning, Lieutenant General Thanya Kiatsarn, commander of Thailand's 2nd Army Region, reportedly announced that the shooter has been killed bringing an end to nearly 12-hour manhunt. According to Thai Police, the attacker was ‘shot dead’ around 9 am local time on Sunday.
The standoff began after the shooter started shooting at a military site and then at a shopping mall. Video taken outside the mall showed people diving for cover as shots rang out mid-afternoon Saturday. Many were killed outside the mall, some in cars, others while walking. Defence Ministry spokesman Lt. Gen. Kongcheep Tantrawanich said, Sgt Maj. Jakrapanth Thomma was responsible for the mass shooting in Nakhon Ratchasima, a hub for Thailand’s relatively poorer and rural northeastern region. Much of the shooting took place at Terminal 21 Korat, an airport-themed mall filled with colourful Lego sculptures, a merry-go-round and huge replicas of landmarks from around the world.
Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul said a doctor was shot while helping an injured person. A police officer also was killed, pushing the death toll to 21, Charnvirakul said. Hundreds of people were evacuated from the mall in small batches by police. “We were scared and ran to hide in toilets,” said Sumana Jeerawattanasuk, one of those rescued by police. She said seven or eight people hid in the same room as her. “I am so glad. I was so scared of getting hurt,” she said.
“We are worried about those who are still trapped inside. Some still couldn’t come out,” Lt. Col. Poonsap Prasertsak, a senior police commander for the region, said in a public statement early Sunday morning. He told reporters police were in touch with some of those still trapped. “We told them to stay calm, stay still and keep their heads down,” he said.