The initial moments of this incident took place at the military base where Thomma was stationed, at around 3:30 pm local time (8:30 am in mainland Portugal). The man attacked the commander and two other, unidentified people, allegedly involved in a “land dispute” that is advanced by the authorities as one of the reasons for the attack. Then he fled in a Humvee stolen with various weapons. Arriving at the center of Nakhon Ratchasima, Thomma shot civilians indiscriminately. The images that circulated on social networks gave an account of the scale of the attack, showing several bodies on the streets and inside vehicles.
After this first attack, the soldier shared a selfie where you could see a burning place in the background. He then went to the shopping center where he was barricaded for 17 hours. He continued to shoot inside doors, killing 17 other people and cornering a group that was held hostage. Outside the commercial surface, authorities planned the best way to neutralize the soldier without putting more civilians at risk – Thomma is described by army sources as a good sniper who has taken many courses, including planning ambushes.
Hundreds of people managed to leave the shopping center unharmed with the help of the authorities. The sniper’s mother was taken to the scene, hoping that Jakrapanth Thomma could be dissuaded and surrender to the authorities, something that did not come to fruition.
Still inside the shopping center, the sniper remained active on social media. He put on a photo of a covered face, armed with a machine gun. Meanwhile, the video surveillance cameras showed the soldier walking through the various floors and corridors.
The arm of iron ended at 9 am local time (2 am in mainland Portugal) when the police entered the shopping center. For a few minutes, the sound of the gunfire was intense, with no clear understanding of what was happening inside the building. After a waiting beat, the gunman’s death was confirmed, with authorities announcing the rescue of the eight hostages. Hours before they managed to neutralize the suspect, authorities had already tried unsuccessfully to reach the sniper: according to Reuters, one agent was killed and two were injured in that first attempt.
The Thai Prime Minister called the attack “unprecedented” in the country. Prayut Chan-O-Cha went to the hospital to visit the wounded in the shooting, warning of the need to look closely at the mental health problem. “There is no precedent in Thailand and I want this to never happen again,” he said. He also explained that it was a “personal conflict” with a relative of his commander.
As for the role of social networks, this was yet another massacre broadcast almost live. Before starting the shooting, the man published a series of messages in which he complained of being a victim of corruption: “Do they think they can take money to spend in hell?” Although Thomma’s page was deleted by Facebook after the If the man was identified as the sniper – the company said in a statement that it would analyze the remaining publications related to the incident – the Thai Army sergeant still managed to make several publications and videos during the attack. At one point, while shooting at civilians in the city center, asked if he should give up, saying he had a cramp in his finger. “I can’t move it anymore,” he said in a live video for his followers.