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At least 20 dead after Thai soldier goes on gun rampage

A soldier opened fire in the city of Nakhon Ratchasima, also known as Korat.

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Police and bystanders stand near the scene of a shooting at the Terminal 21 mall, in Korat, Thailand, Saturday, Feb. 8, 2020. Police in northeastern Thailand said a soldier shot multiple people on Saturday, killing more than 10, and was holed up at a popular shopping mall. (AP Photo)

Police and bystanders stand near the scene of a shooting at the Terminal 21 mall, in Korat, Thailand, Saturday, Feb. 8, 2020. Police in northeastern Thailand said a soldier shot multiple people on Saturday, killing more than 10, and was holed up at a popular shopping mall. (AP Photo)

Police and bystanders stand near the scene of a shooting at the Terminal 21 mall, in Korat, Thailand, Saturday, Feb. 8, 2020. Police in northeastern Thailand said a soldier shot multiple people on Saturday, killing more than 10, and was holed up at a popular shopping mall. (AP Photo)

A Cabinet minister in Thailand says at least 20 people have been killed and 31 injured in a mass shooting.

The gunman, described by police as a soldier angry over a land dispute, holed up in a popular shopping mall in north-western Thailand.

Police say they have now secured the mall.

Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul says there are no more bodies left inside the mall.

But he says: “We don’t know whether there are any additional injuries or deaths or not.”

He did not say whether the shooter had been found.

Mr Anutin earlier said that a doctor was shot while helping an injured person.

The shooter appeared to be armed with an assault rifle, based on security camera video aired on Thai Rath television. Thai Rath said the incident began at about 3:30pm local time.

Thailand Shooting
A group of armed commando soldiers outside Terminal 21 Korat mall, in Nakhon Ratchasima (Sakchai Lalitkanjanakul/AP)

Shortly before midnight, police announced they had secured the entire mall. They released photos of officers escorting people to the exits, but they gave no information about the gunman’s whereabouts.

A police officer contacted by phone in the city of Nakhon Ratchasima said the soldier initially shot dead another soldier and a woman and wounded a third person, apparently over a land dispute. Nakhon Ratchasima is also known as Korat.

City and neighbourhood police officers said the man took a gun from his base and drove to the Terminal 21 Korat mall, shooting along the way.

Thailand Shooting
A wanted poster released by Crime Suppression Division of The Royal Thai Police (Crime Suppression Division of The Royal Thai Police via AP)

Several Thai media reported that he travelled in a military vehicle.

Defence Ministry spokesman Lt Gen Kongcheep Tantrawanich identified the suspect as Sgt Jakrapanth Thomma.

He said police and military units had locked down the mall and the surrounding area.

PA