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Thailand mass shooting: Here’s what we know about the attack that left at least 29 dead

Click to play video: 'Thailand mall shooting: Thousands attend vigil for victims'
Thailand mall shooting: Thousands attend vigil for victims
WATCH ABOVE: Thailand mall shooting: Thousands attend vigil for victims – Feb 9, 2020

A shooting spree that spanned multiple hours and several locations — including at a Thai mall — left at least 29 people dead and dozens more wounded this weekend.

The shooter, identified as 32-year-old Royal Thai Army soldier Jakrapanth Thomma, was shot dead by military personnel Sunday morning.

To date, the attack is Thailand’s largest mass shooting ever carried out by a single gunman.

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Here’s what we know, and don’t know, about the attack.

What happened?

According to Thai officials, the attack began at around 3:30 p.m. on Saturday after Jakrapanth fatally shot his commanding officer, Col. Anantarote Krasae, at his residence.

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Jakrapanth then head to his army camp, gathering assault weapons and ammunition while wounding several soldiers as he stole a vehicle to escape. Several more, including two policemen that tried to apprehend him, were injured afterward.

He arrived at the Terminal 21 Korat shopping mall in Nakhon Ratchasima city at around 6 p.m. and started to spray the area with bullets. Bystanders, pedestrians and those in nearby vehicles were all shot at indiscriminately.

Click to play video: 'Video captures sound of gunshots from shooting at Thailand mall'
Video captures sound of gunshots from shooting at Thailand mall

During the attack, Jakrapanth posted statements on his Facebook account, including a selfie reported by media outlets to be of himself in full military gear

“Death is inevitable for everyone,” he wrote in a statement.

“Three bodies were for revenge, the rest were self-defence,” read another statement, according to Al Jazeera.

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A video that was posted on his Facebook, before the account was shut down by the social media company, showed him complaining about how tired he was and how much his fingers cramped.

“Should I give up?” he asked.

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At around 7 p.m., police cordoned off the mall while hundreds were seen fleeing. Pangs of gunfire were heard throughout the shopping centre.

Authorities picked up Jakrapanth’s mother in an attempt to have her convince her son to surrender.

Organized attempts to rescue dozens of shoppers still in the mall began around 10:30 p.m. after Thai commandos arrived from Bangkok. The gunfire still hadn’t let up.

“It was frightening because I could hear the occasional gunshot … we waited a long time for the police to come and help us, many hours,” said 27-year-old Suvanarat Jirattanasakul, who was rescued by police.

Click to play video: 'At least 20 dead after mass shooting at Thailand shopping mall'
At least 20 dead after mass shooting at Thailand shopping mall

Periodic shootings continued throughout the night until sunrise as police continued to hunt for Jakrapanth.

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Officials confirmed his death at a news conference at about 9:30 a.m. — around 16 hours after he first shot his commanding officer.

Who was the shooter?

Jakrapanth worked at a base 250 kilometres from Bangkok.

His rank was a Sgt. Maj. and he was part of the 22nd Ammunition Battalion.

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He had taken various special courses on attacking and ambushing and was identified as a sharpshooter, Thai army sources told Reuters.

A survivor, identified as “Diaw” by Thai local media, said he was “aiming for the heads.”

“He was shooting everywhere and his shots were very precise,” said Diaw, who added that his colleague died on the scene.

Aside from mention of his mother, no other information on him and his family have been verified.

Click to play video: 'Thailand mall shooting: Thousands attend vigil for victims'
Thailand mall shooting: Thousands attend vigil for victims

According to Al Jazeera, Jakrapanth was a gun enthusiast who posed with weapons on his social media accounts.

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What caused the attack?

According to statements from both the Thai prime minister and police, Jakrapanth was involved in a dispute over the sale of a house with a relative of his commanding officer.

The statement corroborates earlier reports from police which related the earlier shooting of his CO to a dispute over land. No other information on motive has since been given.

Hours prior to the attack however, he had made a post on Facebook denouncing greed and people who took advantage of others.

Click to play video: 'Thai soldier kills at least 16 in mall shooting rampage'
Thai soldier kills at least 16 in mall shooting rampage

“Rich from cheating. Taking advantage of other people. Do they think they can spend the money in hell?” read one of the posts which was written Thai.

Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha addressed reporters after visiting victims in hospitals.

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“This incident was unprecedented in Thailand,” he said.

“I hope this is the only one and the last incident and that it never happens again. No one wants this to happen. It could be because of this person’s mental health in this particular moment.”

— With files from Reuters and the Associated Press

Follow David Lao on Twitter

david.lao@globalnews.ca

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