Death toll put at 17, crack units lay siege to Korat mall where gunman is holed up
Elite police and army forces from the Crime Suppression Division in Bangkok and Lop Buri-based Special Forces are laying siege to Terminal 21 shopping mall in downtown Nakhon Ratchasima province, where a heavily-armed gunman is believed to be holed up with many shoppers trapped inside.
Police reported that at t least 17 people, including the gunman’s army commander, have been killed and 21 others injured in the rampage by the gunman, Sgt-Maj Jakrapanth Thomma, an officer attached to the Surathampitak barracks in the province.
Jakrapanth allegedly shot his commander, 48-year-old Colonel Ananrote Krasae and 63-year old Mrs. Anong Mitchan dead, and injured an army private at about 5.30pm today in a house in Muang district, where a dispute erupted during a meeting over a debt issue.
The gunman escaped in a stolen Humvee and headed for the Terminal 21 shopping mall in downtown Nakhon Ratchasima or Korat, opening fire indiscriminately while driving, killing and injuring several more people.
The shooting continued inside the mall, to which police and army troops have now been deployed to secure the area. Television footage showed shoppers frantically running toward the exits as shots rang out.
About two hours before the mass shooting, the gunman posted a Facebook message which reads “No one escapes death.”
While holding out in the mall, he posted a selfie holding an HK assault rifle and several more Facebook messages which, among others, read:
“Are all three dead?” (Referring to dead and injured found at the house)
“Should I surrender?”
“God damn it! I have cramp in my fingers.”
It is reported that the gunman is armed with several weapons and a lot of ammunition, believed to have been stolen from the barracks.
Government Spokeswoman Naruemol Pinyosinwat said Prime Minister Prayut Chan-a-cha was closely monitoring the incident and has ordered health officials to take good care of the injured.