Korat shooting rampage: Death toll rises to 22, including crack police officer
Death toll from the shooting rampage in Nakhon Ratchasima has risen to 22, with 63 people injured as members of a crack police unit continue to try to hunt down the gunman holed up in a downtown shopping mall in the northeastern province.
Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul said among the dead is a member of the “Arintharaj” crack unit of the Crime Suppression who was shot during a gunfire exchange at around 3.30 am with the gunman, Sergeant Major Jakrapanth Thomma, who has been holding out inside Terminal 21 shopping mall since yesterday evening.
Two other policemen were also reportedly wounded. At 9 am this morning, more injured persons were still being brought out of the shopping mall.
Thai PBS reporters at the scene quoted a police report at 8.30 am as saying that the death toll rose to 22 with 63 people injured.
At about 3 am, a fire erupted at the rear of the mall as it was reported that the gunman might have shot up gas canisters in an attempt to escape through the rear exit of the shopping mall.
Firemen who tried to put off the fire were told by police to pull back for safety.
Gunfires were also heard inside the mall at about 2.30 am as crack police and military units engaged in a firefight with the gunman. Some shoppers are believed to be still trapped inside.
No gunfires were reported after 5 am.
Jakrapanth allegedly shot dead his commander, Colonel Ananrote Krasae and a woman, and injured an army private in a house in Muang district, where a dispute erupted during a meeting over a debt issue, on Saturday evening.
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.