City copes with fall­out from mass shoot­ing

Times-Herald (Vallejo) - - WEATHER - By Emily Schmall and Preeyapa T. Khunsong

NAKHON RATCHASIMA, THAI­LAND >> Au­thor­i­ties in north­ern Thai­land be­gan re­leas­ing bodies to rel­a­tives Mon­day af­ter se­cu­rity forces cor­nered and killed a sol­dier who car­ried out the coun­try’s worst mass shoot­ing in an hours­long siege at a shop­ping mall.

The sol­dier killed 29 peo­ple start­ing with his com­mand­ing of­fi­cer in a stun­ning tragedy that be­gan Satur­day and ended Sun­day morn­ing when se­cu­rity forces shot dead the heav­ily armed at­tacker in Ter­mi­nal 21 Ko­rat, an air­port-themed mall in Nakhon Ratchasima.

The gunman, Sgt. Maj. Jakra­panth Thomma, 31, was in­fu­ri­ated at a land deal bro­kered by his com­man­der’s mother-in-law, as far as au­thor­i­ties have been able to de­ter­mine. She was an­other of his vic­tims.

The death toll sur­passed Thai­land’s last ma­jor at­tack on civil­ians, a 2015 bomb­ing at a shrine in Bangkok killing 20 peo­ple that was al­legedly car­ried out by hu­man traf­fick­ers in re­tal­i­a­tion for a crack­down on their net­work.

Mes­sages of sym­pa­thy for the lat­est tragedy were sent by sev­eral coun­tries.

The U.S. Em­bassy said it “stands with the peo­ple of Thai­land, sad­dened by tragic events in Nakhon Ratchasima.”

More than 1,000 peo­ple mourned the vic­tims Sun­day night in a vigil led by Bud­dhist monks at the city’s town square. They lit can­dles and chanted.

“We are here to­day to pray in or­der to send the souls of those who die to heaven, and we ask the spir­its to ac­cept those souls. So those souls can be holy, be in heaven with good­ness and beauty,” said artist Suwa­nee Nate­wong.

Thai­land’s prime min­is­ter said King Maha Va­ji­ra­longkorn has of­fered all of the de­ceased roy­ally spon­sored fu­neral rites and cre­ma­tions.

Many of the 58 wounded are still in se­ri­ous con­di­tion. The Pub­lic Health Min­istry sent a men­tal health cri­sis team to help rel­a­tives of the de­ceased cope with their losses.

Sur­vivors and vic­tims’ fam­i­lies at the city’s hos­pi­tals re­counted their or­deals.

Cpl. Ko­rakot Am­pan­ngeun said he had been or­dered to block a road so no one could go to­ward the gunman.

“So I was sig­nal­ing to on­com­ing traf­fic, when I turned around and saw him. If I had not, I would not have sur­vived,” he re­called. “I tried to run and find some­where to hide. But I could only take two steps and then I heard the sound — ‘bang.’ My leg just went and I couldn’t walk. A good Sa­mar­i­tan helped carry me away.”

GE­MUNU AMARAS­INGHE — THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

A cou­ple of­fers flow­ers at the scene of a deadly mass shoot­ing in Nakhon Ratchasima, Thai­land.

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