Thousands wash down massacre sites

Thousands wash down massacre sites

Volunteers clean the entrance to Terminal 21 shopping mall in Muang district of Nakhon Ratchasima province on Wednesday morning. (Photo by Prasit Tangprasert)
Volunteers clean the entrance to Terminal 21 shopping mall in Muang district of Nakhon Ratchasima province on Wednesday morning. (Photo by Prasit Tangprasert)

NAKHON RATCHASIMA: Thousands of officials and volunteers on Wednesday came together to cleaned up the areas soiled by the blood and violence of the weekend's rampage by a rogue soldier.

They washed down and broomed-out areas of the Terminal 21 mall, the Thao Suranaree monument, roads between them, Wat Pa Sattha Ruam, the 2nd Army Support Command where the killing started, and other spots.

Before the clean-up began, participants observed a minute's silence at the Thao Suranaree monument in memory of the 29 victims slain.

Hoses from tanker trucks provided water as volunteers wash away blood stains, and roadside trees were trimmed to improve the landscape.

Nakhon Ratchasima governor Wichian Chanthanothai said a merit-making ceremony would be held at Terminal 21 mall on Thursday morning, and it would reopen in the afternoon.

Many people, locals and foreigners, continued to show up at the shopping mall on Wednesday to mourn the deaths. and donors were arriving at the Nakhon Ratchasima provincial hall to contribute to a fund to help victims' families. The fund exceeded 40 million baht on Wednesday morning.

On Saturday Sgt Maj 1st Class Jakrapanth Thomma, 32, shot dead his commanding officer and the colonel's mother-in law inside the 2nd Army Support Command barracks in Muang district of Nakhon Ratchasima. The dead woman was a real estate broker and the gunman reportedly believed she cheated him out of some money. 

He stole more weapons and about 700 rounds of ammunition from the battalion arsenal, killing the sole guard, and then rampaged, shooting indiscriminately, through a temple and along roads in a stolen army  vehicle to the crowded urban shopping mall. Along the way, he posted nonchalant real-time messages and pictures online via social media.

Shoppers fled in terror from the mall as he stalked the corridors, shooting randomly at people. Hours later, police commandos entered the shopping complex and shot him dead.   

He had killed 29 people and wounded 58 others. 

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