A 14-year-old suspected gunman was apprehended by Thai authorities following a shooting incident on Tuesday at a luxury mall in the capital city of Bangkok. This tragic event claimed the lives of three individuals and left four others wounded.
Chaos unfolded as reports of gunfire emerged during the late afternoon, coinciding with the peak shopping hours at Siam Paragon Mall. This shopping and leisure destination is renowned in the city and is particularly popular among foreign tourists.
Police swiftly took action, arresting the 14-year-old believed to be the assailant. The young suspect was taken into custody and subjected to questioning. Images shared by emergency services showed a police officer apprehending and handcuffing the individual, who was lying face down on the ground. Another photo depicted an officer retrieving a handgun from the floor.
Numerous videos shared on social media depicted hundreds of people, including children, streaming out of the mall and into heavy rain as the incident unfolded.
One eyewitness, Shir Yahav, a 26-year-old visitor from Israel, described the harrowing experience: “It happened in just a few minutes. We saw all the people run, run, run, we didn’t understand what was happening… We went with them, and then we heard several shots, like six or seven shots. We blocked the door of the store.”
It’s worth noting that gun violence and gun ownership are not uncommon in Thailand. This incident occurred about a year after a former police officer went on a deadly rampage, resulting in the deaths of 36 people, including himself and 22 children, during a prolonged gun and knife attack at a nursery. Additionally, in 2020, a soldier killed at least 29 people and wounded 57 in a shooting spree spanning multiple locations in the northeastern city of Nakhon Ratchasima.
The Central Investigation Bureau posted a grainy image of the suspected gunman on its Facebook page. The individual was seen wearing khaki cargo pants and a baseball cap.
Siam Paragon, known for its high-end stores, aquarium, movie theatre, and popular food court, is Thailand’s most renowned mall. In 2013, it was even named the world’s most photographed place by Instagram.
Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin expressed deep concern about the incident and public safety, sharing his thoughts on social media. Following the incident, a large number of people gathered in the streets and on elevated walkways around the bustling commercial area. This zone connects with an elevated rail network and several other malls.
Witness Susinee, a 35-year-old restaurant worker, shared her experience: “We just ran out,” she said, referring to herself and her colleagues who were in a Japanese ramen outlet at the time of the gunshots.
The mall promptly evacuated shoppers and staff to ensure their safety. In a statement, Siam Paragon expressed its profound apologies for the unexpected event, noting that authorities had successfully managed to control the situation and apprehend the culprit.