Massacre in Thailand: Killer army shot dead
Published: 11:01 AM, 9 February 2020
Security forces have killed the army officer who has killed at least 20 people in a shootout in Nakhon Ratchasima, northeast of Thailand. Thai Health Minister Uttin Charnvirakul confirmed this information in a Facebook status on Sunday morning. He also congratulated the security forces for the successful operation, reports British media BBC.
At least 20 people were killed when the army officer opened fire at Rachsima area around 7:20 pm on Saturday. Soon after, he entered a local shopping mall. It is estimated that there were several thousand people in the shopping mall at that time.
The country's police and army launched a joint operation to capture the attackers.
On Saturday night, Lt. Gen. Thania Kiatsarn told US media CNN: "We believe he (the killer) is inside the No. 21 terminal of Korat Shopping." It is not confirmed whether anyone was taken hostage there.
At around 5 am on early Sunday, police spokesman Krisana Pattanacharan said, "Right now, we are trying to catch him. Police and troops have been deployed in the area.
Social media photos show that security forces evacuated several people from the shopping mall just hours after the attack. Video footage shows people leaving the area by car. Members of the armed forces surrounded the shopping mall.
Police have identified the gunman as Sergeant Major Jackapantha Thama of the Thai Army. The motive for the attack is not yet known. Thama stole an army car before attacking Rachsima in Korat. Later, he reached Rachsima with the car and fired indiscriminately. Online pictures and videos circulated showed people panicking around the scene to save lives.
According to a Bangkok Post report, the attacker first shot his commander at a military camp. At that time two other soldiers were shot and fled with an automatic rifle. Later, he opened fire on the terminal of the shopping mall in Mang district.
The militant was broadcast live from his Facebook account around 7:20 pm local time. He launched a selfie with a rifle at the start of the attack in the shopping area. Facebook Live caption writes, too tired. Shortly after this post, Facebook Live was closed. Local officials fear the death toll may rise further.
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