Korat mass shooting death toll jumps to 27
27 people, including the gunman, were killed in the shooting rampage which ended at the Terminal 21 shopping mall in Muang district of Nakhon Ratchasima this morning (Sunday), Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha told the media in Nakhon Ratchasima today.
He said that all 26 fatalities were killed by the gunman, Sgt Maj Jakrapanh Thumma, as he praised the police and army troops for observing the rules of engagement and the safety of innocent people in their bid to restrain the perpetrator.
In addition to those who died, 57 others were injured and, of these, 25 have been discharged from hospital and 32 remain in hospital, including eight who were undergoing emergency surgery at the time of the news conference, while four others are awaiting surgery.
The Prime Minister said that the shooting rampage stemmed from business conflict.
Accompanied by Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan and Interior Minister Anupong Paochinda, the Prime Minister flew to Nakhon Ratchasima this morning in an army helicopter. Upon arrival, the delegation was given a briefing on the situation, after which they went to three hospitals to visit the injured victims.
Army spokesman Colonel Winthai Suvaree said that the gunman stole one rifle and 40 rounds of ammunition from a sentry at the Surathampitak camp and then went to the camp’s armoury, where he grabbed one HK assault rifle, one M60 machine gun and 736 rounds of ammunition.
He escaped with a stolen Humvee and headed toward Terminal 21 shopping mall in downtown Nakhon Ratchasima and, while passing through a temple along the way, he fired randomly at merit-makers heading toward the temple on the occasion of Makha Bucha day. Several people were killed at this location.
One of the police officers killed by the shooter, Pol. Cpt. Trakul Tha-arsa, a platoon commander in the anti-terrorism special force, will be posthumously promoted and his family will receive compensation, initially estimated at about 2.1 million baht, according to the national police chief, Pol Gen Chakthip Chaijinda.
It was reported at the scene of the dramatic siege that the media and a civilian had played roles in helping special police and army units to locate the shooter, who was holed up in the underground floor of the shopping mall.
One civilian lent two drones, which were used to look for the shooter inside the mall, but both were shot down and damaged.
A member of the media lent a drone equipped with a heat detection device and reportedly succeeded in locating the shooter before the elite forces stormed the site and killed the gunman this morning at about 9am.