At least 20 people are dead following a Thai soldier’s shooting rampage Saturday just north of Bangkok.
A defense ministry spokesman told BBC that the soldier attacked his commanding officer, Col. Anantharot Krasae, before stealing guns and ammunition from the military camp and opening fire on his fellow soldiers.
He then shot people at a local Buddhist temple before moving onto a shopping center in Nakhon Ratchasima, 160 miles northeast of Bangkok.
Local media video footage showed the shooter getting out of a stolen Humvee-type vehicle at the Terminal 21 shopping center and shooting people as they fled the scene, according to BBC.
He also reportedly fired at a cooking glass cylinder, creating an explosion and fire. This seems to be confirmed by a picture he posted on social media of him with the fire in the background.
The Bangkok Post reported that he had taken hostages in the mall, but that has not yet been officially confirmed. More gunshots were reported inside the building.
The shooter has been identified as Jakraphanth Thomma and he remains at large.
The mall and surrounding areas have been sealed off as authorities try to catch Thomma.
Police have also located Thomma’s mother and are hoping she can persuade her son to surrender, the Bangkok Post reported.
An anonymous official from the Bangkok-based Erawan Center said the number of victims totaled “17 deaths and 14 injuries,” according to the Bangkok Post.
Among the dead are Col. Krasae and a 63-year-old woman reported to be Krasae’s mother-in-law.
ขณะนี้คนร้ายยังอยู่ในพื้นที่ห้าง Terminal 21 โคราช ยังคงก่อเหตุกราดยิงและเกิดเพลิงไหม้ภายในห้าง ขอให้ประชาชนในระแวกใกล้เคียงระมัดระวัง
ขณะนี้เจ้าหน้าที่ทุกภาคส่วน รวมถึง “กองปราบ” กำลังปฏิบัติหน้าที่อย่างเต็มกำลัง pic.twitter.com/UHpWZPnNEi
— กองปราบปราม (@CSDThailand) February 8, 2020
“The gunman used a machine gun and shot innocent victims resulting in many injured and dead,” police spokesman Pol Col Krissana Pattanacharoen told the Bangkok Post.
The shooter’s motives remain unclear, but part of the shooting was live-streamed on Facebook and it was reported that the shooter had also posted a picture of himself holding a firearm with the caption, “So tired,” according to Fox News.
He also asked his social media followers if he should surrender, BBC reported.
His Facebook page has since been taken down.
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