5 Things To Know About The Mass Shooting That Took Place In A Shopping Mall In Thailand
On Saturday afternoon, 8 February, a gunman went on a shooting rampage at Terminal 21 shopping mall in Nakhon Ratchasima, a northeastern city in Thailand
According to Al Jazeera, the gunman killed 29 people and injured 57 others in what has become the worst mass shooting in the country's modern history.
The ordeal ended only after 17 hours when security services found the gunman holing himself up in the shopping complex and shot him dead on Sunday morning.
1. The gunman was identified as 32-year-old junior army officer Jakraphanth Thomma
Before heading to the shopping complex, BBC reported that Jakraphanth first killed his commanding officer, 48-year-old Colonel Anantharot Krasae and the officer's 63-year-old mother-in-law.
Jakrapanth then headed to his army base, Suatham Phithak Military Camp, to steal weapons - two rifles, one M60 machine gun, and 770 rounds of ammunition - before fleeing the camp in a military vehicle.
2. He made Facebook posts while laying siege to the shopping mall
It took him 30 minutes to arrive at Terminal 21 shopping centre where he began to open fire and shoot people indiscriminately.
Many of the victims were killed as he arrived; some still in their cars, others outside the complex. Graphic images and videos of frightened shoppers escaping the mall over the sound of gunshots have appeared on social media.
The gunman himself posted updates on Facebook during the attack before his account was quickly taken down and made inaccessible to the public.
According to Independent, he wrote earlier on Saturday that "Death is inevitable for everyone". During the shooting, he posted a video of himself holding a rifle while saying, "Tired, I can barely move my fingers."
3. It is alleged that he launched the devastating attack over a financial dispute
According to New York Post, Thailand Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha told reporters that the bloody rampage was sparked by "a personal conflict … over a house deal" with another soldier.
Before the attack, Jakrapanth had also posted on his Facebook account that he was out for vengeance - but he did not say for what.
4. Military brought in the gunman's mother to persuade him to turn himself in
CNN reported that authorities brought Jakrapranth's mother from his hometown in Chaiyaphum Province, about two hours by car away, to the mall but she was unable to get inside.
The mother, whose name was withheld, said there was little point in talking to her son anyway, as he had depression and an extremely bad temper.
5. The assailant holed himself up in the shopping mall while taking an unknown number of hostages
However, police stormed the building around midnight, and were seen on news footage helping victims hiding in the mall to safety.
New York Post reported that gunfire was heard inside the shopping centre for several more hours before it was confirmed that Jakrapanth was killed in an exchange of bullets.
Last night, hundreds of Thais gathered in the city to hold vigil for the victims of the mass shooting
People held candles and wrote condolences as monks chanted prayers that saw the whole city of Nakhon Ratchasima mourning.
According to New Straits Times, Thai authorities reported that the total death toll - including the gunman - stood at 30.
The dead include civilians, one of them a 13-year-old boy just passing by the mall, and security forces who had gone after the rogue soldier. While most fatalities happened at the shooting scene, two victims died in hospital during surgery.
"It is unprecedented in Thailand, and I want this to be the last time this crisis happens," said Prime Minister Prayuth, after visiting the hospital where the wounded are being treated.