Thai PM: 27 Dead After ‘Unprecedented’ Mass Shooting

Medical personnel prepare to enter the Terminal 21 mall, where a mass shooting took place and the gunman is currently still hiding, to help injured people remaining in the mall in the Thai northeastern city of Nakhon Ratchasima on February 9, 2020 (LILLIAN SUWANRUMPHA / AFP)

A Thai soldier who killed 26 people and holed up in a mall overnight was shot dead by commandos on Sunday, ending a near-17-hour ordeal which left dozens wounded and stunned the country.

The soldier who carried out the deadly attack did it over a “personal problem”, Thai premier Prayut Chan-O-Cha said Sunday.

“It is unprecedented in Thailand, and I want this to be the last time this crisis happens,” he said outside a hospital where victims were sent after they were evacuated from the shopping mall where the 17-hour rampage took place.

Prayut added that the gunman’s motive was linked to the sale of a house.

Volleys of gunfire rang out as the siege ran into dawn, hours after Thai security services stormed the ground floor and freed scores of stunned, terrified shoppers from a bloody rampage that the gunman — a junior army officer identified as Sergeant-Major Jakrapanth Thomma — had relayed via Facebook posts.

Commandos from elite Thai police units killed the gunman, officials said, after an operation involving hundreds of security personnel.

Throughout the day, Jakrapanth posted images of himself and wrote several posts on his Facebook page as the attack unfolded.

In one Facebook video — since deleted — the assailant, wearing an army helmet, filmed from an open-top jeep, saying, “I’m tired… I can’t pull my finger anymore” as he made a trigger symbol with his hand.

There were also photos of a man in a ski mask holding up a pistol.