Update (2145ET): The shooter at the Terminal 21 mall in Korat has been killed by police.
A total of 21 were killed, while another 33 were wounded, including several law enforcement officers. The shooter took civilians hostage at the mall, leading to a bloody shootout with police.
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A Thai soldier has killed at least 17 people in a mass shooting and has taken hostages inside a shopping mall, all while broadcasting part of the assault on social media, according to the Bangkok Post and RT.
Local officials and media reports claimed the man broadcast the violence and 'took selfies' during the assault. In the video below, gunshots can be heard outside the mall.
The shooting unfolded inside a mall in Korat, also known as Nakhon Ratchasima, in northeastern Thailand. There were "17 deaths and 14 wounded" according to an unnamed official from the Bangkok-based Erawan Center, the nationwide emergency services dispatch center.
The violence started when the attacker stole weapons and ammunition from his commander, then shot his commander and two others at the Surathampithak army camp before fleeing in a stolen Humvee.
He fired at civilians along the route to the Terminal 21 shopping mall in Muang district, and then kept shooting once he got inside the mall.
"The gunman used a machine gun and shot innocent victims resulting in many injured and dead," said Col. Krissana Pattanacharoen, a spokesman for the police. Local media played footage of the soldier getting out of a vehicle in front of the mall around 6 pm local time before firing toward a crowd and sending people scrambling for cover.
The attacker then fired at a cooking gas cylinder, setting off an explosion and fire. Video clips showed people running away and cowering behind cars as thunderous shots rang out.
What's believed to be a photo of the attacker is circulating on social media. In the photo, he is identified as a cop.
Photo shared earlier believed to be the alleged shooter has been identified as a police officer on the scene. This tweet says, “stop sharing, this is my friend who is a police officer” #กราดยิงโคราช #Thailand pic.twitter.com/iCA0fgkYjX— Richard Barrow 🇹🇭 🇬🇧 (@RichardBarrow) February 8, 2020
Footage of people fleeing the scene has also been shared to social media.
The army has asked media outlets to stop live coverage of the attack in order to avoid giving the suspect information about official activities.
At some point, the shooter started a livestream. According to reports, the gunman has taken hostages on the fourth floor of the mall, and Thai special forces are preparing to storm the building, but nothing has been done yet. It's unclear whether they're negotiating with the shooter.
Security forces are gathered outside the mall.
The shooter also started a massive fire by reportedly shooting out a gas tank.
คนร้ายยิงถังแก๊ส. pic.twitter.com/phxf6rViAL— ฮุก31 นครราชสีมา Hook31 (@Hook31_Thailand) February 8, 2020
Local media have reported that the shooter took selfies and livestreamed during the attack. One of the purported photos shows the suspect wearing a combat helmet and a face mask as he holds up an assault rifle.
The suspect is reportedly an Army sergeant, though other reports have identified him as a police officer. He used an assault rifle to carry out the attack.
Of course, this isn't the first mass shooting to be broadcast on social media. Footage of the Christchurch attack's violent assault on a New Zealand mosque can still be found in some dark corners of the internet, even though New Zealand has made it highly illegal to even look at.