Police in Thailand apprehended a 14-year-old boy following a gunfire incident at a swanky shopping haven in the heart of Bangkok on Tuesday. The Metropolitan Police Bureau disclosed that the shooting resulted in at least one fatality and five injuries.
Local authorities successfully detained the suspect armed with a weapon, with Thailand’s Central Investigation Bureau currently evaluating the precise extent of casualties.
The incident unfolded at around 5 p.m. local time at the Siam Paragon Mall in Bangkok, as revealed by Police Colonel Noppadol Thiammekha, the Chief of Pathum Wan Police, in a Tuesday statement to CNN.
The Bangkok Emergency Center revised an initial death toll, originally stating three fatalities. Dr. Yutthana Setthanan, the director of the Bangkok Emergency Center, clarified later that only one person lost their life. The deceased is believed to be a Chinese citizen, with no children reported among the deceased or injured victims. Of the seven people shot at the mall, one person succumbed, and five others sustained serious injuries. Yutthana emphasized that both Thai citizens and foreigners were among the injured.
Witnesses described chaotic scenes of employees and shoppers attempting to flee the mall during Tuesday’s attack, as reported by Reuters.
Shir Yahav, 26, recounted that the shooting happened “in just a few minutes,” according to the agency. “We saw all the people run, run, run; we didn’t understand what was happening,” Yahav said. “We went with them and then we heard several shots, like six or seven shots. We blocked the door of the store.”
Susinee, 35, mentioned that she and about half a dozen other workers “just ran out” of a Japanese ramen restaurant, as reported by Reuters.
Gun ownership is notably high in this Southeast Asian country compared to others in the region. According to 2017 data from the Switzerland-based Small Arms Survey (SAS), over 10.3 million civilians possess firearms in Thailand, equating to around 15 guns for every 100 people. Approximately 6.2 million of these guns are legally registered, as per SAS.
Thailand ranks second in gun homicides in Southeast Asia, following the Philippines, according to the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington’s 2019 Global Burden of Disease database. Despite this, mass shootings are infrequent. In October 2022, a childcare center in northeastern Thailand witnessed at least 36 people losing their lives in a gun and knife attack, marking a rare and deadly incident.
Expressing his condolences, Thai Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin offered support to the families of the shooting victims. “I would like to offer my support to the families of the deceased and all those who were injured as well,” the prime minister conveyed on X, formerly known as Twitter.