A mass shooting at a mall in Nakhon Ratchasima [also called Korat], located 250 km north-east of the Thai capital Bangkok on Saturday [Feb. 8], has left at least 17 people dead, while the shooter remains on the loose.

Nakhon Ratchasima, Thai shooter
Facebook/Nakhon Ratchasima

Mass slaughter in Thailand

The gunman, a Thai soldier, identified as Sergeant Major Jakapanth Thomma, came out of his car outside the shopping mall and opened fire at bystanders. In the video that has appeared online, loud gunshots can be heard, sending people running for their lives.

Panicked people can be seen running inside the mall as well.

According to the police in Nakhon Ratchasima, the gunman had had a quarrel about a land deal and shot another soldier and his wife, who were involved in the dispute, the Telegraph reported.

"The gunman used a machine gun and shot innocent victims resulting in many injured and dead," police spokesperson Krissana Pattanacharoen told AFP.

The gunman stole an army vehicle and live-streamed the whole incident on Facebook Live. "Death is inevitable for everyone," he posted on Facebook, before going on the rampage. He also posted several selfies of him in full tactical gear. At one point after the shooting began, he wrote online, "Should I give up?" before his account became inaccessible.

Gun violence in Thailand

Thailand has one of the highest rates of gun ownership in the world but mass shootings by soldiers targeting civilians are rare. Several courthouse shootings were reported last year. In one such case, two lawyers were killed by a clerk over a land dispute.

In January, a gunman killed three people, including a two-year-old, during a robbery at a jewelery store in Lopburi province.