A Thai soldier accused of killing more than 26 people and injuring 57 others in a shooting at a crowded shopping mall has been shot dead by police, bringing an end to a 12-hour manhunt, Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said Sunday.
Military officials announced earlier that the shooter had been killed on Sunday morning. The attacker was “shot dead” at around 9 a.m. local time (9 p.m. ET Saturday), according to officials.
The standoff began on Saturday after the shooter started firing first at a military site and then at the Terminal 21 shopping mall in Thailand’s northeastern Nakhon Ratchasima province, known as Korat.
Prime Minister Prayut confirmed Sunday that the gunman had taken hostages during the standoff but didn’t elaborate on how many or what happened to them.
Thai authorities said the shooter was believed to be Army Sub. Lt. Jakrapanth Thomma, an ammunition battalion officer working for the 22nd Ammunition Battalion, defense ministry spokesman Lt. Gen. Kongcheep Tantravanich said.
“In general, any military (officer) would be good at guns, but this man certainly has more skills,” he said.
The gunman’s motive wasn’t immediately clear, military officials said.
According to spokesman Tantravanich, the incident began after the gunman quarreled with his superior officer on Saturday, eventually shooting and killing him.
He then took his superior’s gun and proceeded to shoot his colleagues, Tantravanich said. It wasn’t immediately known whether any other military personnel were killed.
The soldier stole more guns, including at least one machine gun, and a military Humvee. Tantravanich could not confirm the number of guns and ammunition taken.
After the shooter left the military base, he drove to the shopping mall and shot civilians along the way, Tantravanich said.