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Thai Gunman Shot Dead in Mall; 26 Killed, 57 Hurt in Rampage

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A soldier with a grudge gunned down 26 people and wounded 57 in Thailand’s worst shooting spree before he was fatally shot inside a mall in the country’s northeast Sunday, officials said.

Officials said the soldier was angry over a financial dispute, first killing two people on a military base and then went on a far bloodier rampage Saturday, shooting as he drove to the mall where shoppers fled in terror.

It took police sharpshooters 16 hours to end the crisis.

Authorities said Sgt. Maj. Jakrapanth Thomma was behind the attack in Nakhon Ratchasima, a hub for Thailand’s relatively poorer and rural northeastern region. Much of the shooting took place at Terminal 21 Korat, an airport-themed mall filled with colorful Lego sculptures, a merry-go-round and huge replicas of landmarks from around the world.

“This incident was unprecedented in Thailand,” Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha told reporters as he gave the final tally Sunday morning after visiting the wounded in hospitals.

“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,” he said.

Prayuth said he was worried that people inside the mall could be accidentally hit by bullets fired by police, but added, “I have checked, that didn’t happen.”

Video taken outside the mall showed people diving for cover as shots rang out midafternoon Saturday. Many were killed outside the mall, some in cars, others while walking.
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