Thailand Shooting: Soldier Suspected In Rampage That Killed At Least 20

Police and bystanders stand near the scene of a shooting at the Terminal 21 mall, in Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand on Saturday.
Police and bystanders stand near the scene of a shooting at the Terminal 21 mall, in Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand on Saturday.
/AP

A gunman killed at least 20 people and wounded more than 21 in a Thai city while livestreaming himself on social media Saturday, multiple media outlets report.

The suspect has been identified as a junior soldier at a base near the city of Nakhon Ratchasima, which is also known as Korat and is more than 180 miles northeast of Bangkok.

Police say the gunman shot a superior officer and others at the base, NPR's Michael Sullivan reports. The gunman then fled the scene and resumed his shooting spree at a nearby shopping mall.

Local media showed footage of the suspect exiting a car in front of a shopping mall and firing a series of shots, as people ran for cover. Gunshots could be heard on the video, The Associated Press reports.

The newspaper Thai Rath reports the incident began at about 3:30 p.m. local time, according to the AP. Police are still searching for the suspect. Multiple reports say he's believed to still be in the shopping mall, but it's unclear whether he has taken hostages. More than 100 people have been evacuated from the complex, emergency worker Noppadol Sirijanya told the AP.

According to the BBC, the suspect's mother has been brought to the shopping center to try to talk him into giving himself up.

Police have warned people to stay at home, the BBC reports.

The suspect had posted on his Facebook page earlier in the day: "Death is inevitable for everyone." He also posted a photo of what appeared to be a gun held in his hand, Reuters reports.

The Facebook page has been taken down, AP reports.

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

Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha is following developments and expressed condolences to the families of victims, a spokeswoman told the BBC.

The incident comes a month after another high-profile mall shooting in the central Thai city of Lopburi. A masked man with a handgun killed three people, including a 2-year-old boy, and wounded four others as he robbed a jewelry store, the AP reports.

Firearms can be obtained legally in Thailand, but mass shootings are rare events other than in the far south, where a decades-old insurgency persists, Reuters reports.

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