Mass Shooting in Thailand Leaves 29 People Dead, 58 Wounded
Thailand is mourning the victims of a recent mass shooting, which has been called the worst in the country’s history.
A disgruntled soldier fatally shot 29 people and wounded 58 — 30 of whom are still in the hospital — across a rampage spanning four locations in and around Nakhon Ratchasima, CNN reports.
The gunman, identified as Sgt. Maj. Jakrapanth Thomma was gunned down inside the city’s Terminal 21 shopping center early Sunday morning.
Thomma was stationed at a nearby army base, where he was known as a sharpshooter. He was an expert on planning and carrying out attacks, according to army sources.
He began the attack by opening fire at a house at approximately 3 p.m. on Saturday, killing his first victim, Col. Anantarote Krasae. The gunman was killed by police at around 9 a.m. local time on Sunday (9 p.m. EST Saturday), officials said.
After that, the attacker moved on to the camp, stole three assault rifles, two machine guns and about 800 rounds of ammunition. He then drove to the mall in a stolen Humvee. As he made his way to the mall, Thomma continued shooting wildly, which resulted in multiple deaths and injuries.
One officer was killed and three others were injured during the ensuing confrontation, Maj. Gen. Jirapob Puridet said. Survivors described the incident as “frightening,” with the gunman reportedly “aiming for the heads.”
Ratchanon Karnchanamethee, 13, was one of the fatalities over the weekend.
“He’s my only son. He hasn’t even had dinner,” his father, Natthawut Karnchanamethee, was quoted by CNN as saying. “I allowed him to do anything he wanted to. I never set expectations for him. I only wanted him to be a good person.”
While the case is still under investigation, authorities have attributed the shooting to Thomma’s anger toward a land deal brokered by his commander’s mother-in-law, who became one of his victims.
Thomma had written a Facebook post denouncing greedy people only hours before he began the attack on Saturday. His account has since been shut down.
“I hope this is the only one and the last incident and that it never happens again,” Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha was quoted saying. “No one wants this to happen. It could be because of this person’s mental health in this particular moment.”
Hundreds of Thai people attended a vigil on Sunday night to honor the victims of the mass shooting. During the program, attendees shared stories and memories about their deceased loved ones.