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UPDATE: 14 year old shooter will be charged today with 5 offences

PHOTO: AP

UPDATE:

Prosecutors are to press five charges against the 14 year old shopping centre gunman who killed two and injured five others, two seriously, in yesterday’s Siam Paragon shooting incident…

• premeditated murder

• attempted murder

z8 illegal possession of firearm

• carrying firearm in public without permit

• firing shots without permit.

The teenage gunman will be presented to juvenile Court today and police may charge his parents under Child Protection Act. 

OTIGINAL STORY:

A tragic incident unfolded at the popular Siam Paragon shopping centre in central Bangkok as a 14 year old teenager opened fire, leaving two people dead and five injured. Earlier reports reported up to four people killed as the situation was unfolding late yesterday afternoon.

The victims have been identified as a Chinese national and a Burmese national, as confirmed by Thailand’s new national police chief, Torsak Sukvimol. The current condition of the injured remains uncertain.

Police have revealed that the teenage suspect had a history of mental health issues and had failed to take his prescribed medication. He described the suspect as being in a confused state and unable to communicate effectively. Initial reports had suggested three fatalities, but emergency services later corrected the number.

He was enrolled in an upscale private school in Bangkok and his parents are both academics at a leading Thai university

Siam Paragon, a renowned upscale shopping destination in Thailand, was thrown into chaos as gunshots echoed through its corridors. Witnesses reported hearing gunfire coming from a restroom inside the mall.

Video footage shared on social media captured the terrifying moment when gunfire erupted in the mall’s food court. Shoppers and staff members sought shelter as panic swept through the building.

Police swiftly apprehended the suspect shortly after 5pm. Images from the scene showed the teenager kneeling with his hands raised and later being handcuffed while lying face down on the floor, wearing a baseball cap with a US flag emblem.

Police later searched the teenager’s home, finding many rounds of ammunition, including 49 bullets and 15 spent shells, in his bedroom. They also discovered videos on his phone that show him practicing using a gun.

This morning the new Thai police commissioner told media that the shooter was using “a modified BB gun”, as reported in Thai PBS World.

Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin took to Twitter to address the incident, expressing his concern for public safety and ordering a thorough police investigation.

While gun-related incidents are not uncommon in Thailand, mass shootings are rare. Recent years have seen growing concerns about such events. In a horrifying incident in October of last year, 22 children were killed during an attack by a former police officer at a nursery in Utthai Sawan in north-east Thailand.

In 2020, another tragedy unfolded when 29 people were killed and 57 wounded in a shooting spree across various locations, including a shopping mall, in the north-eastern city of Nakhon Ratchasima, prompting discussions about gun control in the country.

In a statement, Siam Paragon expressed its condolences to the families of the victims and commended the police, volunteers, and its security team for their swift response in evacuating customers and employees from the building.

The President of the Association of Thai Travel Agents, Sisdivachr Cheewarattanaporn, says that the incident will “definitely affect tourism” because many Chinese already have doubts over their safety in Thailand.

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