A SHOOTER opened fire inside a major shopping mall in the center of Thailand’s capital Tuesday afternoon, October 3, 2023, killing three people before being apprehended, authorities said.
Police said a suspect was apprehended less than an hour after the first reported gunshots at the Siam Paragon Mall, long been seen as one of Bangkok's biggest and most upscale shopping destinations.
Police spokesman Archayon Kraithong told reporters the situation was under control at the mall, which sells high-end fashions and luxury cars, and includes a cinema, an aquarium and the five-star Siam Kempinski hotel.
Three people were killed and six were injured, according to Yutthana Sretthanan, director of Bangkok’s Emergency Medical Center.
The incident happened days before Thais were planning to mark the anniversary of a grisly gun and knife attack at a rural day care center in a northeastern province that killed 36 people, most of them preschoolers, on Oct. 6, 2022.
Tuesday's shooting prompted authorities to shut access to the nearby Siam elevated train stop, preventing commuters from exiting the transit station as the evening rush hour began and intense rain pounded the city, according to an Associated Press journalist at the scene.
First responders could be seen entering the mall as sirens wailed outside.
Witnesses said crowds of people left the building, one of several shopping centers in the area popular with tourists and well-heeled Thais alike.
Chinese tourist Liu Shiying told the AP that she saw people running and saying someone had opened fire. She said she heard gunshots and an alarm ringing, and that the lights in the mall went out.
“We’re temporarily hiding. Who dares to go out?" she said while taking cover. She was later able to leave.
Multiple videos uploaded to social media showed people running out of the building and a person dressed in a baseball cap, dark shirt and camouflage pants holding a handgun.
Video posted later showed what appeared to be the shooter surrendering to police.
Gun violence is not uncommon in Thailand, though mass shootings are rare.
In 2020, a disgruntled soldier opened fire in and around a mall in the northeastern city of Nakhon Ratchasima, killing 29 people and holding off security forces for some 16 hours before eventually being killed by them.(AP)