Three people were killed and six were injured when a shooter opened fire in a major shopping mall in the center of Thailand’s capital on Tuesday afternoon before being apprehended, authorities said.
Police spokesman Archayon Kraithong told reporters a suspect – a 14-year-old boy – was taken into custody after the shooting at the Siam Paragon Mall and the situation is now under control.
Yutthana Sretthanan, director of Bangkok’s Emergency Medical Center said that three people were killed and six were hurt.
The incident prompted authorities to shut access to the nearby Siam elevated train stop, preventing commuters from exiting the transit station as the evening rush hour began and intense rain pounded the city, according to an Associated Press journalist at the scene.
First responders could be seen entering the mall as sirens wailed outside.
Witnesses said crowds of people left the building, one of several shopping centers in the area popular with tourists and well-heeled Thais alike.
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“We were at the checkout of a food stall to buy water, and within a second a crowd of people started running towards us,” an Israeli tourist told the Ynet news website. “At first, I thought there might be a celebrity they were running toward, but then I realized that wasn’t the case, and we started running too. We went out and tried to ask what was happening, and someone we asked just said ‘shooting.'”
Another Israeli tourist said she and her daughter had split off from her husband and son when the shooting began.
“We heard gunshots that sounded pretty close, and we began to see people running in every direction,” the woman told Ynet. “We looked for shelter and entered the first store that allowed us in, a shoe store. We went deep into its storeroom, and inside we heard more gunshots. We hid there for an hour and a half until we were allowed to leave.”
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.
Mall officials could not immediately be reached for comment.
Gun violence is not uncommon in Thailand, though mass shootings are rare.
The incident happened days before Thais were planning to mark the anniversary of a grisly gun and knife attack at a rural day care center that killed 36 people, most of them preschoolers, on October 6, 2022.
In 2020, a disgruntled soldier opened fire in and around a mall in the northeastern city of Nakhon Ratchasima, killing 29 people and holding off security forces for some 16 hours before eventually being killed by them.