HM King extends help to shooting victims

HM King extends help to shooting victims

Survivors recount hours before rescue

Heavily-armed police are deployed near an escalator inside Terminal 21. Police photo
Heavily-armed police are deployed near an escalator inside Terminal 21. Police photo

His Majesty the King has accepted the victims of the shooting rampage in Nakhon Ratchasima under his patronage and extended his moral support to their families, as well as authorities who took part in the rescue operation.

The death toll from the shooting spree jumped to 30 on Sunday. Among the dead is the shooter, identified as Jakrapanth Thomma, 32, of the Surathampithak army camp. The number of the injured was 58.

Many of the victims were killed as the gunman made his way into Terminal 21 shopping centre, which was packed with mall-goers ahead of this week's long weekend. Some of the victims were, family members.

Pol Snr Sgt Maj Chatchaval Taengthong of Nakhon Ratchasima police station was killed as tried to stop the shooter, who, in return, sprayed his vehicle with bullets.

Charuayporn Charujet, daughter of Capt Siriwat Saegprasit, said her father was killed trying to protect her mother, who was injured from the bullets. Capt Siriwat, from Nakhon Si Thammarat, travelled to Nakhon Ratchasima for a reunion and the couple was about to buy items for merit-making to mark Makha Bucha Day.

Nachote Choteklang, a Mathayom 6 student whose mother was killed in the rampage, said the gunman opened fire at his car without being provoked. He ducked for cover and the bullet grazed his back.

Pol Corporal Korakot Amphanngern, a police officer attached to Muang police station, said he was directing vehicles away from the suspect's path when the shooter fired at him. The bullet hit an artery in his right leg.

Anong Somwang, 47, whose son, Athiwat Promsuk, was trapped inside the shopping mall, said she initially managed to stay in contact with her son via Line chat.

"He was hiding in a cold storage room and said was safe. But at 9am today, I couldn't contact him," she said.

Athiwat was later found dead at the scene.

Capt Trakul Tha-asa and Pol Snr Sgt Maj Petcharat Kamchadpal were shot dead during the operation. The Royal Thai Police will propose that the slain officers be posthumously promoted.

Meanwhile, an operation centre has been set up at Nakhon Ratchasima Justice Office in Muang district to provide assistance to victims of the shooting, according to Justice Minister Somsak Thepsuthin.

"The event left many injured, and the victims need urgent help," he said.

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