Injured victim of Korat shooting spree fights on

Injured victim of Korat shooting spree fights on

Jirattikarn Nobthai is one of the 58 people wounded during the two-day shooting spree of Sgt Maj 1st Class Jakrapanth Thomma in Muang district of Nakhon Ratchasima exactly one year ago. Thirty-one other people were killed, most of them at the Terminal 21 shopping mall.(Photo: Prasit Tangprasert)
Jirattikarn Nobthai is one of the 58 people wounded during the two-day shooting spree of Sgt Maj 1st Class Jakrapanth Thomma in Muang district of Nakhon Ratchasima exactly one year ago. Thirty-one other people were killed, most of them at the Terminal 21 shopping mall.(Photo: Prasit Tangprasert)

NAKHON RATCHASIMA: Jirattikarn Nobthai has a busy medical schedule ahead of him.

He has a blood check on March 18, followed by an appointment with a doctor on April 5, and then an operation on April 19, not to mention his weeky rehabilitation programme.

It all began when he was shot by Jakrapanth Thomma while helping victims outside the Terminal 21 shopping centre exactly a year ago, on Feb 8.

"I don't want to think about that day, although it is still in my memory,"  the 27-year-old said on Monday. "Every time I think about it, it brings me down."

Mr Jirattikarn is one of 58 people wounded by the bullets of Sgt Maj 1st Class Jakrapanth, 32, of Surathampithak army camp, during two days of carnage on Feb 8-9 last year, when  31 other people were killed, many as he drove along the road others inside the shopping mall.

The drama ended when the shooter was himself shot dead by police commandos.

The rampage is believed to have been sparked by a conflict over a house sale involving the  gunman and his commander.

After being shot, Mr Jirattikarn lay unconscious in Maharat Nakhon Ratchasima Hospital for a week. The bullets damaged internal organs, including a kidney and his colon, and severed  a tendon in his left arm, leaving it too weak to work properly. He lives with only one kidney.

But he refused to give in to his injuries, determined to help himself as much as possible. 

He puts his recovery at 70% after regular hospital visits and weekly rehab programmes.

He can drive a car and help himself, but he cannot find regular work due to the weakness in  his left arm.

"I really want to regain my full strength as soon as possible, so that i can work and reduce the load on my parents," he said. It is unclear what work he was doing before the fateful day he was shot.

The army offered him a chance to sign up, to be a soldier, but he passed the opportunity on to his younger brother, because of his weak arm. His brother will soon be serving in the 2nd Army Region, based in Nakhon Ratchasima.

He remains thankful to the army, for not ignoring the needs of innocent people whose lives were shattered by an angry soldier's shooting spree.

The province held a religious ceremony on Monday in memory of those killed and injured a year ago, during two days of terror in Muang district. 

As for Mr Jirattikarn, he feels reborn since that day. But he fervently hopes nothing like it will ever happen again in Thailand, and that other people will be spared the horrors he and the other victims went through. 

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