A 14-year-old suspected gunman was arrested after two people were killed and at least four wounded during a shooting spree at a luxury shopping centre in the heart of Bangkok.
Hundreds of people fled the busy downtown mall into torrential rain and chaos after gunshots were heard, while videos shared on social media showed others taking cover in shops, restaurants and bathrooms as the shooter stalked the building.
Within an hour, the Metropolitan Investigation Bureau of the Royal Thai Police took a 14-year-old boy wearing a black T-shirt, thick-rimmed glasses and a cap adorned with the American flag into custody.
Photos released by the emergency services showed one officer collecting the handgun used, and another pinning down and handcuffing the teenager.
Torsak Sukvimol, Thailand’s police chief, said the boy went to school close to the Siam Paragon shopping centre. He had previously been receiving treatment for a mental health condition, but had recently stopped taking his medication. His motives remain unclear.
No British nationals involved
Mr Sukvimol added that the two people killed during the attack were Chinese and Burmese nationals. Four other people were injured, and several are in a critical condition.
The UK’s Foreign Office said it is not aware of any British nationals being involved.
“I would like to express my deepest condolences to the family of the deceased following the shooting inside Siam Paragon,” said Srettha Thavisin, Thailand’s prime minister. “I would like to give my moral support to the families of all who died and were injured.”
The day’s events have shaken the Thai capital. Upmarket Siam Paragon is one of Bangkok’s biggest and most popular shopping centres, drawing tourists and locals alike.
“We didn’t know what was happening, then staff from a shop asked us to go inside and said there was a shooter,” Xiong Ying, a 41-year-old Chinese tourist, told AFP. “Everyone was trying to find a place to hide. So many people were terrified, just like a scene in the zombie movies.”
“Everybody was screaming and running,” Gautam Vora, 45, an Indian national who works in finance in Bangkok, told AP. “There was a lot of chaos and that was almost like a stampede.”
“I don’t think [staff] were well prepared for this,” he added. “I think most of the staff inside the shopping mall were confused and they were running helter-skelter, too.”
Following the shooting, authorities temporarily closed the nearby Siam skytrain station, preventing commuters from leaving the stop during the rush hour.
Gun violence is not unusual in Thailand, where there are high rates of firearm ownership, although mass shootings are relatively rare.
But the latest killing comes as the country marks one year since one of its deadliest mass attacks. Last October, a former police officer killed 36 people, including 24 young children, in an hour-long rampage at a nursery in northern Thailand that devastated the kingdom.
It came after a former army officer went on a rampage in a shopping mall in the city Nakhon Ratchasima, murdering 29 people and injuring dozens more.
02:12 PM BST
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01:43 PM BST
Death toll revised again
One person was killed and six wounded in a shooting at a Bangkok mall on Tuesday, an emergency medical service said, revising down an earlier toll.
“It was initially reported that three were dead but actually only one person died,” Yuthana Srettanan, director of Erawan Emergency Centre, told reporters, adding that six people had been shot, two of whom are in serious condition.
At one stage, emergency services reported that as many as four had been killed.
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Where the incident happened
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Footage of arrest
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Police find a weapon
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Emergency services treating the wounded
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Crowds fleeing the scene
Witnesses said crowds of people left the building, one of several shopping centres in the area popular with tourists and locals.
Chinese tourist Liu Shiying told the AP that she saw people running and saying someone had opened fire. She said she heard gunshots and an alarm ringing, and that the lights in the mall went out.
“We’re temporarily hiding. Who dares to go out?” she said while taking cover. She was later able to leave.
Multiple videos uploaded to social media showed people running out of the building. The public broadcaster Thai PBS said several gunshot-like sounds were heard but had no other details.
12:07 PM BST
Death toll rises
The death toll in a mall shooting in Thailand’s capital on Tuesday has risen to four after one person succumbed to their injuries, emergency services said.
They also said one of the wounded was a foreign national. Police have arrested a 14-year-old in connection with the incident.
12:06 PM BST
Final toll confirmed
Three people were killed and four wounded Tuesday in a shooting at a Bangkok shopping mall, Thai emergency services said. Yuthana Srettanan, director of Erawan Emergency Center, confirmed the toll and wounded in a message to reporters.
12:02 PM BST
Gun violence common in Thailand
An ex-police officer killed 22 children in a nursery last year during a gun-and-knife rampage, while in 2020 a soldier shot and killed at least 29 people and wounded 57 in a rampage that spanned four locations in and around the northeastern Thai city of Nakhon Ratchasima.
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Images from the scene
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