Teen Boy Arrested in Mall Shooting

At least one person is dead in posh Thai mall, though initial reports had said 3 were slain
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 3, 2023 10:35 AM CDT
Shooting Hits Posh Thai Mall
Workers gather near a shopping mall after an evacuation in Bangkok on Tuesday. Hundreds of shoppers fled the major shopping mall in the center of the Thai capital after what sounded like gunshots were heard inside.   (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)

A shooter opened fire inside a major shopping mall in the center of Thailand's capital Tuesday afternoon, killing at least one person before being apprehended, CNN reports, though initial reports had between two and three dead. Police said a suspect was taken into custody less than an hour after the first reported gunshots at the Siam Paragon mall, long seen as one of Bangkok's biggest and most upscale shopping destinations. Video uploaded to social media and broadcast on television showed a long-haired teen boy in the custody of police, reports the AP. Major Thai media said he was 14 years old, though Torsak Sukvimol, the nation's recently appointed police chief, confirmed only that he's a minor and appeared to be suffering from mental illness.

Police spokesman Archayon Kraithong told reporters the situation was under control at the mall, which sells high-end fashions and luxury cars and includes a cinema, an aquarium, and the attached five-star Siam Kempinski Hotel. Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin told reporters that he was informed by police that the confirmed dead person was a Chinese tourist about 30 years old. "I would like to express my deepest condolences to the family of the deceased following the shooting inside Siam Paragon," Srettha said. "I would like to give my moral support to the families of all who died and were injured." Gun violence isn't uncommon in Thailand, though mass shootings are rare.

The incident happened days before Thais were planning to mark the one-year anniversary of the country's biggest mass killing by an individual, a grisly gun and knife attack at a rural day-care center in a northeastern province that killed 36 people, most of them preschoolers, on Oct. 6. Tuesday's shooting prompted authorities to temporarily shut access to the nearby Siam Square elevated train stop, preventing commuters from exiting as the evening rush hour began and intense rain pounded the city. 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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Chinese tourist Liu Shiying said she saw people running and saying someone had opened fire. She said she heard gunshots and an alarm, and that the mall's lights went out. "We're temporarily hiding. Who dares to go out?" she said. Gautam Vora, an Indian national who works in Bangkok, was at the mall with his wife and child. He said it was "quite scary," even though he was initially unsure whether he'd heard gunshots or "somebody playing a hoax with some firecrackers." "Everybody was screaming and running," he said. "There was ... almost like a stampede." Multiple videos showed people running out of the building, and several showed a person dressed in a baseball cap, dark shirt, and camouflage pants inside the mall, holding a handgun. A video believed to be of the shooter after his arrest showed a long-haired boy wearing glasses dressed like that, with an American flag on his cap.

(More Thailand stories.)

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