BANGKOK—A soldier killed at least 20 people in a shooting rampage in northeastern Thailand on Saturday, posting messages on Facebook during the attack, and was holed up in a shopping mall nine hours after he first struck, authorities said.
Shootings are rare in the Southeast Asian country other than in the far south, where a decades-old insurgency persists.
An official at the Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Office in Nakhon Ratchasima said at least 17 people were confirmed dead and the toll could rise. One ambulance service official in the city said the death toll was as high as 20.
“We dont know why he did this. It appears he went mad,” said defense ministry spokesman Kongcheep Tantrawanit.
Police identified the suspect as Jakrapanth Thomma. He had posted on his Facebook page earlier in the day that “Death is inevitable for everyone”. He also posted a picture of what appeared to be his hand holding a gun.
At one point after the shooting had begun, the suspect posted “Should I give up?” before his account became inaccessible.
The soldier opened fire at different locations in the city, which is more than 250 km (155 miles) from the capital Bangkok, police spokesman Kissana Phathanacharoen said in a message sent to reporters.
The shooter was still in the Century 21 shopping mall and had not yet been apprehended, the police said.
Local media showed footage of the soldier getting out of a car in front of a shopping mall and firing a series of shots, sending people running. Gunshots could be heard on the video.
One video from a bystander showed a man slumped at the wheel of a car in a pool of blood. It was unclear if he was among the dead. Another video showed at least four people who had clearly been shot and showed no sign of movement.
Facebook sent its condolences to the victims and their families and said there was no place on Facebook for anyone who commits or supports such atrocities.
“We have removed the gunmans accounts from our services and will work around the clock to remove any violating content related to this attack as soon as we become aware of it,” it said.
A woman interviewed by Thailands Channel One television said she had heard gunshots when she was at the shopping mall and hid in a clothing store with other people before escaping.
The shooter had initially gone to a housRead More – Source