Thai armed soldier kills 17, takes hostage 16 - UPDATED 3 - VIDEO
A soldier has killed 20 people and injured many more in a gun rampage in the Thai city of Nakhon Ratchasima, APA reports quoting BBC.
Jakraphanth Thomma, a junior officer, killed his commanding officer before stealing weapons from a military camp, a defence spokesman told BBC Thai.
The suspect then drove to the city centre and entered a shopping complex, where he is believed to be holed up.
The suspect, whose motives remain unclear, posted images of his attack on social media sites.
At least 17 people were killed and 21 wounded in a shooting by a soldier in the northeastern city of Nakhon Ratchasima, police spokesman Kissana Phathanacharoen said in a message sent to journalists, APA reports citing Reuters.
At least 17 people were reported killed and many more injured in a shooting spree by a soldier who later took hostages at a local shopping mall on Saturday evening.
There were “17 deaths, 14 wounded” said an unnamed official from the Bangkok-based Erawan Center, the nationwide emergency services dispatch centre that collates hospital information.
The carnage began when the assailant stole weapons and ammunition and shot dead his commander and two others at the Surathampithak army camp before fleeing in a stolen Humvee. He fired at civilians along the route to the Terminal 21 shopping mall in Muang district.
“The gunman used a machine gun and shot innocent victims resulting in many injured and dead,” said Pol Col Krissana Pattanacharoen, the police spokesman.
Local media showed video of the soldier getting out of a vehicle in front of the mall around 6pm and firing a series of shots, sending people running. Gunshots could be heard on the video.
The attacker then fired at a cooking gas cylinder, setting off an explosion and fire. Video clips showed people running away and cowering behind cars as thunderous shots rang out.
There were unconfirmed reports that the man had hand grenades on his body.
Troops from a special warfare unit were dispatched to the mall, where the attacker was said to be holding 16 people hostage on the fourth floor.
Police Crime Suppression Division commandos were also on the scene. Police were taking the man’s mother from Chaiyaphum province to Korat in hopes that she could persuade him to surrender.
Around 8.30pm, it was reported that special forces troops were preparing to “engage” the shooter inside the shopping centre. 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 7.20pm.
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”.
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, said police and soldiers were hunting the attacker, identified as Sgt Maj Jakrapanth Thomma, 32, of the Surathampithak camp.
The slain commander has been identified as Col Anantharot Krasae, with whom the gunman was reported to have had a conflict. A 63-year-old woman said to be Col Anantharot’s mother-in law was also killed at the camp, along with another soldier.
A Thai soldier has shot dead "many people" in and around city of Korat, north-east of Bangkok, APA reports citing BBC.
Posts on social media appear to show the scene of a shooting near a shopping centre.
According to police, the soldier stole a vehicle from his barracks before attacking people with an assault rifle in the city, which is also known as Nakhon Ratchasima.
The incident is still on going.
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