Thai mass shooting that killed 29 lasted 16 hours
BANGKOK (AP) — A soldier angry about a land dispute went on a 16-hour shooting rampage in northeastern Thailand, killing at least 29 people and wounding dozens more. Police and military personnel hunted the gunman overnight in a shopping mall where he had holed up and shot him dead Sunday morning. It was Thailand’s biggest mass shooting carried out by a single gunman.
This chronology was compiled from official and Thai media reports. Times are approximate.
At about 3:30 p.m., a soldier uses his handgun to fatally shoot Col. Anantarote Krasae, his commanding officer in the 22nd Ammunition Battalion, and the officer’s 63-year-old mother-in-law at their home. The Defense Ministry soon identifies the gunman as Sgt. Maj. Jakraphanth Thomma. Police say the shooting is related to a dispute over land. A third person is also shot but survives.
Jakrapanth then goes to his army camp, where he seizes several assault weapons and ammunition. He opens fire and wounds at least three soldiers before stealing an army vehicle to flee.
Two policemen are shot when they try to stop Jakrapanth near a Buddhist temple. Two bystanders are also hurt.
By 6 p.m., Jakrapanth arrives at the Terminal 21 Korat shopping mall in Nakhon Ratchasima city. He sprays bullets throughout the area, hitting pedestrians as well as people riding in cars and on motorcycles. A gas tank near the mall catches fire, apparently after being hit by a round.
The gunman posts angry statements on his Facebook page along with a selfie that shows him in military gear, including a helmet, while the fire burns in the background.
Jakrapanth enters the mall and keeps shooting. Police block roads next to the mall and establish a 2-kilometer (1.2 mile) perimeter around it.
The Defense Ministry identifies Jakrapanth as the suspect and police issue a wanted notice for him.
At around 7 p.m., police SWAT teams and commandos arrive at the mall. The commandos come by helicopter from Bangkok. Periodic gunfire is heard inside the mall. Police are in contact by phone with people trapped inside.
By 7:30 p.m., Jakrapanth’s Facebook page is unreachable. The Digital Economy and Society Ministry later says it asked Facebook to take down the account because its content would violently disturb society.
Before 8 p.m., police announce that more than 10 people have been killed. A call is issued for people to donate blood at local hospitals.
At about the same time, police in an adjacent province pick up Jakrapanth’s mother from her home and bring her to the mall to see if she can help get her son to surrender.
National Police chief Gen. Chakthip Chaijinda arrives at the mall at around 8:30 p.m.
An organized effort by the authorities begins at about 10:30 p.m. to take control of the mall and evacuate those inside. Gunfire is still heard. Army Commander Gen. Apirat Kongsompong arrives at the scene.
At around 11:30 p.m., police announce that the ground floor and higher levels of the mall have been secured. Police photos show hundreds of people being evacuated. No mention is made of the gunman, who is believed to still be inside the building.
Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul announces that 20 people have been killed and 31 others wounded.
At about 2 a.m., a police commander says police are still tracking the gunman inside the mall and there are an unknown number of people still trapped inside with whom the authorities are in touch. He asks reporters not to report details of the police actions because the gunman may be listening. Thailand’s telecommunications regulator earlier told television stations they should not broadcast live from the site for the same reason.
Periodic gunfire continues in the mall as police hunt the gunman. There is a burst of activity around 3 a.m., and an ambulance takes two people away.
More concerted gunfire is heard around 4:30 a.m., and there is an unconfirmed report that a police commando has been killed.
Gunfire continues periodically past sunrise.
At around 9 a.m., local media report that Jakrapanth has been killed in a shootout. At 9:30 a.m., officials confirm his death at a news conference next to the mall.