Nakhon Ratchasima: A soldier angry over a property deal gone sour killed at least 29 people and wounded 57 in a shooting spree that spanned four locations in and around the Thai city of Nakhon Ratchasima before he was shot dead.
Most of the victims were at the city’s Terminal 21 shopping centre, where the shooter held out against an overnight siege with an assault rifle and ammunition stolen from his army base. Police identified him as 32-year-old soldier Jakrapanth Thomma. He initially posted written messages on Facebook during the attack before his account was shut down by the company.
“It was a personal conflict... over a house deal,” PM Prayuth Chan-ocha said from Nakhon Ratchasima after travelling there to meet survivors. Prayuth added that the conflict was with a relative of the soldier’s commanding officer. Prayuth came in for criticism over his handling of the incident after he waved and smiled during a visit to the scene and made a heart gesture with his fingers. Led by police and soldiers, hundreds of shoppers fled the mall during the 16-hour standoff. Crouching low, they escaped in small groups, dazed and exhausted. At one point, armed forces emerged at a run carrying small children.
The worst mass shooting in Thailand’s history has prompted soul searching in the country of 69 million. Hours before he began shooting, the shooter had posted on his Facebook account denouncing greedy people. “Rich from cheating. Taking advantage of other people. Do they think they can spend the money in hell?” read one post in Thai.