International desk – A Thai soldier accused of killing at least 26 people in a gun rampage at a shopping mall in the city of Nakhon Ratchasima has been shot dead by the security forces, media reports said quoting police in Thailand.
Jakraphanth Thomma on Saturday killed his commanding officer before stealing weapons from a military camp and launching an attack on the street and the Terminal 21 shopping mall in the city.
The gunman, who posted material to social media, was shot dead after being cornered all night in the building, according to BBC.
Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha gave the higher death toll on Sunday, an increase from an earlier figure of 20. Fifty-seven people are wounded.
“It is unprecedented in Thailand, and I want this to be the last time this crisis happens,” he said, after visiting the wounded at a hospital in Nakhon Ratchasima.
He said the motive for the attack appeared to be Jakraphanth’s grudge after believing he had been cheated over a land deal.
Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul posted on his Facebook page on Sunday morning, congratulating the security forces for their actions in the north-eastern Thai town.
“Thank you police and army for ending the situation. Shooter shot dead!!!”
Shortly after 03:00 local time Saturday gunfire was heard as the security forces raided the building, trying to dislodge the gunman.
Several people were led out of the centre, but there were concerns that more people were being held hostage.
News footage from the scene showed people leaving the area in pickup trucks and cars as security forces surrounded the mall, according to CNN.
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.
Police confirmed on Sunday morning that the gunman had been shot dead, but so far there are no more details about how the operation concluded