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Soldier Kills 26 in Thailand Shooting Spree and Dies in Standoff


The soldier shot a superior officer at a military base, then went on a shooting rampage at a mall before he died in the standoff with soldiers and the police, officials said.

 

I was really terrified. At that moment, I could not think about anything,” said Kul Kaemthong, a mall cleaner who rushed into a room in the fourth-floor food court with about 40 other people to hide before emerging hours later. “When we heard a gunshot, everybody started running for our lives.”

Without a clear motive, with social media again used to spread images of bloodshed, Thailand is now confronting its own version of an emerging global threat: the combination of guns, technology and a killer with access to both who is determined to take the lives of the innocent in a public place once deemed safe.

Nothing so severe is common in Thailand, but in a country of 69 million people with more than 10 million guns, the authorities have been concerned for years about gun violence. Thailand has one of the highest gun homicide rates in Asia, and the episode in Korat comes just a month after a gunman killed three a people at a mall in the central Thai city of Lopburi.

The shooting in Korat — a commercial hub for agriculture in Thailand’s poorest region — stunned officials; one said the gunman “went mad,” creating an extended horror that turned a busy seven-story shopping center into a labyrinth of fear. But the violence started nine miles away, on a military base, around 3 p.m. local time Saturday.

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