A gunman described as a soldier angry over a financial dispute killed two people and then shooting as he drove to a busy mall where shoppers fled in terror. At least 26 people were killed in all, 57 were injured and others were believed to be still inside the building as more gunshots rang out early Sunday, reported by AP News.
Sgt. Maj. Jakrapanth Thomma was behind the attack in Nakhon Ratchasima and much of the shooting took place at Terminal 21 Korat, an airport-themed mall filled with colourful Lego sculptures, a merry-go-round and huge replicas of landmarks from around the world.
Video taken outside the mall showed people diving for cover as shots rang out mid-afternoon Saturday. Many were killed outside the mall, some in cars, others while walking.
Nattaya Nganiem and her family had just finished eating and were driving away when she heard gunfire.
“First I saw a woman run out from the mall hysterically,” said Nattaya, who shot video of the scene on her phone. “Then a motorcycle rider in front of her just ran and left his motorcycle there.”
Hundreds of people were evacuated from the mall in small batches by police while they searched for the gunman.
“We were scared and ran to hide in toilets,” said Sumana Jeerawattanasuk, one of those rescued by police. She said seven or eight people hid in the same room as her.
“I am so glad. I was so scared of getting hurt,” she said.
The man believed to be the gunman appears to have posted updates to his Facebook page during the rampage.
“No one can escape death,” read one post. Another asked, “Should I give up?” In a later post, he wrote, “I have stopped already.” The Facebook page was made inaccessible after the shooting began.
Really surreal watching an active shooter post status updates on Facebook.
— Than R. (@thanr) February 8, 2020
Shortly before midnight, police announced they had secured the above-ground portion of the mall, but were still searching for the shooter. About 16 hours later, officials held a news conference outside the mall to announce the gunman was fatally shot.