UPDATE: There were “17 deaths, 14 wounded”, said an unnamed official from the Bangkok-based Erawan Center, the nationwide emergency services dispatch centre that collates hospital information. [As of 9:34pm, Phuket time.]
The attacker first shot dead 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.
Local media showed video of the soldier getting out of a vehicle in front of the mall around 6pm and firing a series of shots, sending people running. Gunshots could be heard on the video.
Once inside, the attacker fired at a cooking gas container inside the mall’s food court, causing it to explode and sending shoppers into a panic.
Troops from a special warfare unit were dispatched to the mall, where the attacker was said to be holding 16 people hostage on the fourth floor.
There were unconfirmed reports that the man had hand grenades on his body.
The attacker streamed his activity at the mall on Facebook Live and posted a selfie showing him holding a rifle. “Tired, I can barely move my fingers,” he said on a video posted at 7.20pm.
The Facebook page was taken offline a few moments later.
Thai media reported that 12 people were killed. The number of injured people was not yet known.
Lt Gen Thanya Kriatisarn, commander of the Second Army Region, said police and soldiers were hunting the attacker, identified as Cpl Jakrapanth Thomma, 32, of the Surathampithak camp.
The slain commander has been identified as Col Anantharot Krasae. A 63-year-old woman and another soldier were also killed at the camp.
Read original story here.