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Mall killer went on gun rampage after money row

Gunman: Jakrapanth Thomma’s Facebook page

A SOLDIER who shot dead 29 people and wounded 58 others before he was killed inside a shopping mall in Thailand had been angry over a financial dispute, officials said yesterday.

Sgt Maj Jakrapanth Thomma killed his commanding officer in the 22nd Ammunition Battalion before setting off on a rampage through Terminal 21 Korat, an airport-themed mall, in the city of Nakhon Ratchasima on Saturday. His killing spree was brought to an end after a 16-hour stand-off.

Lengthy stand-off: A shooting victim is stretchered away under armed guard PICTURES: AP/FACEBOOK

Prime minister Prayuth Chan-ocha visited the wounded yesterday.

‘This incident was unprecedented in Thailand,’ he told reporters.

‘I hope this is the only one and the last incident, and that it never happens again. No one wants this to happen. It could be because of this person’s mental health in this particular moment.’

Jakrapanth posted updates to his Facebook page during the attack. One read: ‘No one can escape death.’

His profile picture showed him in a mask and dressed in military-style fatigues and armed with a pistol.

Video taken outside the mall showed people diving for cover as shots rang out. Many were killed in that area, some in cars, others while walking. Sumana Jeerawattanasuk, one of those rescued by police, said: ‘We were scared and ran to hide in toilets.’

She said seven or eight people hid in the same room as her, adding: ‘I am so glad. I was so scared of getting hurt.’

The atrocity comes a month after a gunman killed three people, including a boy of two, as he robbed a jewellery store at a shopping centre in Lopburi.