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Thailand's Bloodiest Shooting Spree Is Over

Gunman finally shot dead after he killed 26
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 9, 2020 5:27 AM CST
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The suspect in a mass shooting in northeastern Thailand. A soldier shot multiple people in northeastern Thailand on Saturday, killing at least 16, and was holed up in a popular shopping mall, an emergency worker said.   (Crime Suppression Division of The Royal Thai Police via AP)
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(Newser) – A soldier with a grudge gunned down 26 people and wounded 57 in Thailand's worst shooting spree before he was fatally shot inside a mall on Sunday, reports the AP. Officials said he was angry over a financial dispute, first killing two people on a military base before going on a far bloodier rampage Saturday, shooting as he drove to the mall where shoppers fled in terror. It took police sharpshooters 16 hours to end the crisis. Authorities said Sgt. Maj. Jakrapanth Thomma was behind the attack in Nakhon Ratchasima, a hub in Thailand’s relatively poor and rural northeast. Much of the shooting took place at Terminal 21 Korat, an airport-themed mall filled with colorful Lego sculptures, a merry-go-round, and huge replicas of global landmarks. “This incident was unprecedented in Thailand,” Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha said Sunday morning after visiting the wounded. "I hope this is the only one and the last incident, and that it never happens again.”

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. Hundreds 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. 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. Shortly before midnight, police announced they had secured the above-ground portion of the mall. About 16 hours later, officials announced the gunman had been fatally shot. The gunman posted Facebook updates 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.” A photo circulated on social media that appeared to be taken from the Facebook page shows a man wearing a green camouflaged military helmet while a fireball and black smoke rage behind him.

(Read more mass shootings stories.)

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