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Thailand livestreamed shooting: Soldier kills at least 10 people

22:03 | 08/02/2020

Mass shooting in Thailand’s Nakhon Ratchasima (Korat), allegedly carried out by member of the military, news agencies reported on Saturday (Feb 8).

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Sergeant Major Jakapanth Thomma. Source: Coconut

A Thai soldier killed at least 10 people in a livestreamed shooting in the northeastern city of Korat and remains at large, police said.

There are "more than 10 dead" and many injured, police spokesman Krissana Pattanacharoen told AFP, as authorities sealed off a shopping centre in pursuit of the suspect.

Local media Thairath said that 12 people had been killed in the shooting.

The gunman, identified by police as Sergeant Major Jakapanth Thomma, stole an army vehicle and also posted photos and video of himself in full tactical gear as the attack in Korat was carried out.

The man had posted on his Facebook page earlier in the day that "Death is inevitable for everyone." He also posted a picture of what appeared to be his hand holding a gun.

The soldier had opened fire at different locations in the city, which is more than 250km from Bangkok, Phathanacharoen said in a message sent to reporters.

Video and photos circulating online showed panicked scenes, with people fleeing and what appeared to be the sound of automatic gunfire filling the air.

According to social media posts, the gunman also opened fire inside a shopping mall, Terminal 21 Korat.

Police in the province said they have sealed off the mall but have yet to capture the gunman.

Local media showed footage of the soldier getting out of a car in front of a shopping mall and firing a series of shots, sending people running. Gunshots could be heard on the video.

One video from a bystander showed a man slumped at the wheel of a car in a pool of blood. It was unclear if he was among the dead.

A woman interviewed by Thailand's Channel One television said she had heard gunshots when she was at the shopping mall and hid in a clothing store with other people before escaping.

The shooter had initially gone to a house in the city and shot two people dead, before going to the weapons store on an army base and taking a new gun, local police said.

He also shot at people on the army base, they added.

At one point after the shooting had begun, the suspect posted "Should I give up?" and "Well I stopped already".

Other posts that followed said "Getting wealthy from cheating (corruption) and taking advantage of others. Do they think they can take their money to use in hell?" and "Are those three dead yet?"

His account was later inaccessible.

"We don't know why he did this. It appears he went mad," said defence ministry spokesman Kongcheep Tantrawanit.

The shooter had a quarrel with his superior and ended up shooting and killing him, defense ministry spokesman Lt. Gen. Kongcheep Tantravanich said. He then took the superior's gun and went around shooting his colleagues. Aside from the superior, it's unknown if any other military personnel were killed.

The soldier also stole guns and a military Humvee from his quarter. At least one machine gun was stolen but Lt. Gen. Tantravanich could not confirm how many guns and how much ammunition were taken.

After the shooter escaped from his quarter, he drove to the shopping mall and along the way he shot at civilians.

Thai army chief Apirat Kongsompong issued an order for local army commanders to rush to the scene and investigate.

Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha expressed condolences to the families of those killed, a government spokeswoman said.

Several social media users also posted snippets of what appeared to be a livestream of the gunman panning the video to show the area around him.

The gunman also reportedly posted a selfie on Facebook during the attack./.

VNF/Reuters/AFP/CNN