A Thai soldier has killed at least 17 people at a shopping centre in Korat, a city over 150 miles northeast of Bangkok. Gunshots are being heard inside the building since police entered, with the shooter’s mother now at the scene pleading with him to stop.
Sergeant Major Jakapanth Thomma had shot two people at a house, before going to his base where he shot three soldiers, including his commanding officer. He then drove off in a jeep, spraying bullets at pedestrians on his way to the Terminal 21 shopping centre.
The 32-year-old has reportedly taken numerous hostages at the shopping centre, whilst also posting selfies of the carnage and livestreaming parts of his attack on Facebook.
Dressed in military gear and carrying a machine gun, Thomma has posted a photo of a revolver, saying “It’s time to get excited”, and later holding a rifle, writing that he was “So tired.”
People are reported to be hiding within the shopping centre, with photos posted on certain websites showing baristas hiding in cupboards and others running for their lives.
The shooter remains at large, with police reporting that the ground floor of the building is now cleared and hundreds of people evacuated.
“We don’t know why he did this. It appears he went mad,” said Ministry of Defence spokesman Kongcheep Tantrawanit.
Thomma had posted “Death is inevitable for everyone” on his Facebook page before going on the rampage.
One police officer told the media that Thomma had been involved in a dispute over land, and then shot the two initial victims who were involved in the argument.