A gunman went on a rampage on Saturday in northeastern Thailand at a busy mall with unsuspecting mall-goers.
It must have seemed like any normal weekend for them, but little did they know that their lives would be changed forever.
The outcome of the tragedy? At least 21 people have been murdered, while 31 others were injured.
But there’s more to the story than that because the gunman wasn’t just some random person on the streets.
Sit tight and I’ll explain.
Everything About the Thai Soldier Who Took a Gun & Killed at Least 20 People in a Mall
The incident happened predominantly at a mall called Terminal 21 Korat, which is an airport-themed mall filled with colourful Lego sculptures and a merry-go-round.
It also contains larger-than-life replicas of landmarks from all over the world.
A video of the incident shot from outside of the mall showed people diving for cover as gunshots could be heard in the background on the afternoon of that fateful day.
But it wasn’t just those inside the mall that became the victims. Various people who were outside the mall, some walking on the streets and some inside their cars, were also shot or injured.
A woman named Nattaya Nganiem and her family had just had their lunch and were about to drive away when she heard gunshots.
“First I saw a woman run out from the mall hysterically,” said Nattaya, who shot video of the scene on her phone. “Then a motorcycle rider in front of her just ran and left his motorcycle there.”
The Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul mentioned that the victims consist of a doctor who was shot while he was attending to an injured person. A police officer was also fatally shot.
Hundreds of people were evacuated from the mall batch by batch while the police searched high and low for the gunman.
Who Is The Gunman?
If the headline wasn’t revealing enough, the gunman was allegedly a Thai soldier who was unhappy about a land dispute.
His first victim was another soldier, a commanding officer of the 22nd Ammunition Battalion in which the suspect served.
According to the defence ministry spokesman Kongcheep, he had killed the soldier and another woman before injuring another.
He shot at the individuals at the base before taking guns and ammunition and running off in an army Humvee.
CCTV footage revealed that he was wielding an assault rifle.
Gunman Posted Updates On Social Media & Livestreamed Shooting
The gunman seemed to have time to update his Facebook page while he carried out the shooting.
One of his posts read, “No one can escape death,” read one post. While the others were, “Should I give up?” and “I have stopped already.”
A photo believed to be from the gunman’s Facebook page has since been circulated on social media showing the man in a green camouflaged military helmet with a fireball and black smoke rage behind him.
His profile picture, on the other hand, shows him in a mask and in military-style fatigues, carrying a pistol. His Facebook background image depicts handgun and bullets.
His Facebook page was disabled after the shooting began.
The latest update reveals that the gunman has since been shot dead by security forces.
This is not the only shooting incident.
Just last month, a high-profile mall shooting also occurred in central Thailand at Lopburi wherein a masked gunman killed three people including a two-year-old buy in an attempt to steal from a jewellery store.
He later confessed and said that he had not intended to kill anyone.
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