Nakhon Ratchasima shootings
|Nakhon Ratchasima shootings|
|Location||Nakhon Ratchasima Province, Thailand|
|Date||8–9 February 2020 |
15:30 – 09:13 (ICT; UTC+07:00)
|Hostage-taking, mass shooting, spree killing|
|Deaths||30 (including the perpetrator)|
|Motive||Business conflict between perpetrator and his commander|
A mass shooting occurred near and in Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand, colloquially known as Korat, between 8 and 9 February 2020. A soldier of the Royal Thai Army killed 29 people and wounded 58 others before he was eventually shot and killed.
The attack began when the perpetrator shot and killed his commanding officer and two others at Surathamphithak Military Camp (ค่ายสุรธรรมพิทักษ์), the base where he was stationed. The perpetrator then stole military weapons and a Humvee and drove to the Terminal 21 Korat shopping mall, which had a large number of shoppers due to the public holiday Magha Puja, where he opened fire on shoppers. On the way he also fired at several people on the road and at Wat Pa Sattha Ruam, a Buddhist temple. During the attack, the perpetrator posted updates and shared a live stream on his Facebook account. It is the deadliest mass shooting in Thailand's history.
House and Surathamphithak Military Camp
The shooting began at about 15:30 local time on 8 February 2020 at a house, where the gunman arrived to discuss a property dispute with his commander, Colonel Anantharot Krasae. The gunman confronted him, stole his weapon and shot him dead. He then shot and killed the commander's mother-in-law. Afterwards, the gunman went to the Surathamphitak army base where he worked and raided the camp, stealing from a guard post and the camp armories two Type 11 assault rifles (a variant of the HK33), an M60 machine gun as well as 776 rounds of ammunition, killing a soldier in the process. He then stole a Humvee and wounded the driver. The gunman escaped the base and opened fire on two police officers and two civilians, wounding them. The officers sustained multiple gunshot wounds in their legs and backs.
Buddhist temple and Terminal 21 Korat shopping mall
After escaping, the gunman started shooting in the street: he stopped outside Wat Pa Sattha Ruam, a Buddhist temple, and killed eight civilians and a police officer. He then arrived at the Terminal 21 Korat shopping mall in the city of Nakhon Ratchasima. At that point he left the vehicle and began shooting indiscriminately at people outside the mall, before detonating a gas cylinder, killing 12 civilians. He then entered the mall, killing two people and taking sixteen hostages inside the mall on the fourth floor. The gunman live-streamed on Facebook Live during the siege and shared photos and memes on his profile page, although his account was eventually taken down by Facebook.
Police officers and soldiers stormed the mall and demanded the gunman's surrender, to which he responded by opening fire, killing two policemen and a soldier and wounding at least three others. He remained inside for several hours, during which his mother was brought by authorities to try to convince him to surrender.
On 9 February, at 09:13 local time, police announced that they had shot and killed the gunman.
Sergeant Major 1st Class Jakrapanth Thomma (จักรพันธ์ ถมมา, RTGS: Chakkraphan Thomma; 4 April 1988 – 9 February 2020), age 31, was born in Chaiyaphum Province. He was stationed at the Surathamphithak Military Base, where the first shooting took place. He previously received training as a non-commissioned officer and was an expert marksman.
The shooter's acquaintances said he was upset over being allegedly cheated out of a property deal and not being given back his money by his commanding officer, Colonel Anantharot Krasae, and Krasae's mother-in-law, who were both shot dead. During the livestreaming of the shooting the gunman shouted, "Rich from cheating and taking advantage of people... Do they think they can take money to spend in hell?"
Social media use
The perpetrator posted on social media during his attack, asking on Facebook if he should surrender. He had previously posted a picture of a pistol and bullets, captioned "It is time to get excited," and "Nobody can avoid death." Facebook responded by removing the page and issuing a statement condemning the attack.
Criticism of media coverage
The events of the shooting were initially covered as live broadcasts near the scene by Thai broadcasters, which received public and governmental criticism for possibly providing the gunman with information about the movements of authorities intervening at the scene. Thailand's broadcast regulator, the NBTC, have called a meeting with representatives of television stations for discussion of their live broadcasts of the siege. NBTC secretary-general Takorn Tanthasit stated he ordered all TV stations to stop live broadcasting the situation and any other information that could have impeded the actions of authorities from intervening, and had issued warnings that were ignored by some stations, which he implied will lead to disciplinary action. The hashtags #แบนช่องone ("Ban Channel One"), #แบนไทยรัฐ ("Ban Thairath") and #สื่อไร้จรรยาบรรณ ("Media without ethics") trended on Twitter in Thailand in response to the media's live coverage.
Criticism of military and government
In the aftermath, the military co-run government was a target of anger, with the hashtags "Reform the Military" and "Prayuth RIP" trending on Twitter. In particular, it was criticized for being unable to prevent one of its own soldiers from easily stealing weapons and committing the shootings, contrasting with its strong control of politics and the economy. In January 2020, General Apirat Kongsompong lauded new laws intended to make it more difficult for ill-intentioned people to steal weapons from the military.
- "สูญเสีย! ผู้เสียชีวิตจากเหตุกราดยิงโคราชเพิ่มเป็น 30 คน" [Loss! Death toll of Korat shooting rampage rises to 30]. Thai PBS (in Thai). 9 February 2020. Retrieved 9 February 2020.
- "Korat carnage death toll 27; perpetrator had conflict with his commander : PM". Nation Thailand. 9 February 2020. Retrieved 9 February 2020.
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- "ทบ. แจง คนร้ายกราดยิงโคราช ขโมยอาวุธปืน HK11 - M60 และกระสุน 776 นัด". Krungthep Turakij (in Thai). 9 February 2020. Retrieved 9 February 2020.
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- "ด่วน! วิสามัญฆาตกรรมมือกราดยิงโคราช เสียชีวิต 20 คน" [Breaking! Korat gunman shot dead, 20 killed]. Thai PBS (in Thai). 9 February 2020. Retrieved 9 February 2020.
- "เปิดประวัติเหี้ยม!! "จ.ส.อ.จักรพันธ์" ปูมหลังคลั่งกราดยิง พื้นเพคนชัยภูมิ เรียนนายสิบ แม่นปืน!!" [Background of ruthless mass shooter "Sgt. Maj. Jakrapanth" revealed!! Chaiyaphum native, received army training, sharpshooter!!]. Khaosod (in Thai). 8 February 2020. Retrieved 9 February 2020.
- Paddock, Richard C.; Suhartono, Muktita; Jirenuwat, Ryn (10 February 2020). "Thai Soldier in Mass Shooting Had Business Clash With His Commander" – via NYTimes.com.
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- Chia, Jasmine (9 February 2020). "How social and mainstream media failed us during the Korat mass shooting". Thai Enquirer. Retrieved 9 February 2020.
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- "โซเชียลวิจารณ์ 'สื่อ' กรณีกราดยิงโคราช ผุด Hashtag #แบนช่องone ขึ้นเทรนด์ Twitter". Techsauce (in Thai). Archived from the original on 11 February 2020. Retrieved 9 February 2020.
- Head, Jonathan (12 February 2020). "Thailand struggles to come to terms with first mass shooting". BBC News. Retrieved 12 February 2020.