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Thai soldier goes on shooting rampage, police say many dead

A Thai soldier has killed at least 17 people and wounded more than 20 in a shooting rampage in the northeastern city of Nakhon Ratchasima, according to police. The suspect of Saturday’s attack, identified by police as Sergeant Major Jakrapanth Thomma, remains at large. Officials to meet on Mekong crisis as fishing communities suffer Laos…

Thai soldier goes on shooting rampage, police say many dead

A Thai soldier has killed at least 17 people and wounded more than 20 in a shooting rampage in the northeastern city of Nakhon Ratchasima, according to police.
The suspect of Saturday’s attack, identified by police as Sergeant Major Jakrapanth Thomma, remains at large.

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The suspect reportedly stole an army vehicle and posted photos and video of himself in full tactical gear as the attack was carried out.
He wrote on his Facebook page earlier in the day that “Death is inevitable for everyone”. The suspect also posted a picture of what appeared to be his hand holding a gun. 
At one point after the shooting had begun, he wrote online, “Should I give up?” before his account became inaccessible.
The soldier opened fire at different locations in the city, which is more than 250km (155 miles) from capital, Bangkok, police spokesman Kissana Phathanacharoen said in a message sent to reporters. 
The shooter remained in a shopping centre and had not yet been apprehended, the police said. 
“We don’t know why he did this. It appears he went mad,” said defence ministry spokesman Kongcheep Tantrawanit.
Al Jazeera’s Wayne Hay, reporting from Bangkok, said that the situation around the shopping centre was still evolving.
“Police say that the suspect has hostages inside the shopping centre with him, but it is not clear how many,” he said.
Hay added that some people left the centre, escorted by the police, and gun shots were heard from the building in the evening hours.
Amateur footage
Local media showed footage of the soldier getting out of a car in front of the shopping centre and firing a series of shots. 
Footage circulating online showed panicked scenes, with people fleeing and what appeared to be the sound of automatic gunfire filling the air.
One video from a bystander showed a man slumped at the wheel of a car in a pool of blood. It was unclear if he was among the dead. 

A woman interviewed by Thailand’s Channel One television said she had heard gunshots when she was at the shopping centre and hid in a clothing store with other people before escaping. 
The shooter had initially gone to a house in the city and shot two people dead, before going to the weapons store on an army base and taking a new gun, police said. 
They added that he also shot at people on the army base. 
Thai army chief Apirat Kongsompong issued an order for local army commanders to rush to the scene and investigate. 
Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha expressed condolences to the families of those killed, a government spokeswoman said.
Thailand has one of the highest rates of gun ownership in the world but mass shootings by soldiers targeting civilians are rare.
Several shootings at courthouses late last year also renewed concern about gun violence in the country.
In one high-profile case, two lawyers were shot dead by a clerk at a court in eastern Thailand during a hearing over a land dispute.
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Canada shooting: At least 18 dead, 16 crime scenes in Nova Scotia

Residents of the Canadian province of Nova Scotia were searching for answers on Monday, a day after a gunman dressed as a policeman went on a rampage, killing at least 18 people in the deadliest mass shooting in the country’s history. The motives of suspected gunman 51-year-old Gabriel Wortman, who was killed in an apparent…

Canada shooting: At least 18 dead, 16 crime scenes in Nova Scotia

Residents of the Canadian province of Nova Scotia were searching for answers on Monday, a day after a gunman dressed as a policeman went on a rampage, killing at least 18 people in the deadliest mass shooting in the country’s history.
The motives of suspected gunman 51-year-old Gabriel Wortman, who was killed in an apparent confrontation with police on Sunday in Enfield, Nova Scotia, on Canada’s east coast, remain unknown.
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Nova Scotia Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) Chief Superintendent Chris Leather said there is “in excess of 19 victims”. The RCMP commissioner later said there were at least 18 victims. It was unclear whether Leather’s figures included the gunman. 
The victims were all adults, both men and women. “It appears that some of the victims were known to the suspect,” Leather said during a news conference on Monday afternoon.
He said police were investigating at 16 separate crime scenes in Portapique, where the shooting began, and other communities.
Questions around how families, friends and communities will be able to mourn the dead during the COVID-19 pandemic – with social distancing rules in place – have also compounded many peoples’ grief.
“Nova Scotia is devastated,” Mike Savage, the mayor of the province’s largest city, Halifax, said on Twitter on Monday morning. “As we wait for more details of this horrific crime there is an ominous silence that is unprecedented in my lifetime.
“This will not define us as a Province, but it has shaken us to our core.”
The shooting began around 11:30pm on Saturday night in Portapique, Nova Scotia, a small, rural community about 130km (80 miles) north of Halifax, and it continued for several hours on Sunday in various locations.
Wortman was disguised as a police officer and was using a car that closely resembled those used by members of the federal police force, the RCMP, local media reported.
The victims
An RCMP officer, Heidi Stevenson, was killed in the shooting. Stevenson was a 23-year veteran of the force and a married mother of two children. 
“Two children have lost their mother and a husband his wife. Parents lost their daughter and countless others lost an incredible friend and colleague,” Nova Scotia RCMP said in a statement on Sunday.
“I brought flowers to honour her memory and let the Stevensons know there’s people here standing with them, and we’re going to keep them in our thoughts,” Jesse Casavechia, who knew the family, told CBC News on Monday.
“We’re devastated by this loss and I can’t even imagine what they’re feeling.”

RCMP lights brighten a memorial placed earlier in the day by Dave Brown at Portapique, Nova Scotia, Canada, after a mass shooting [John Morris/Reuters] 

Lisa McCully, an elementary school teacher, was also among those killed.
McCully was known “not only as a passionate teacher, but as a shining love” in the lives of her friends, family members, colleagues and students, said the Nova Scotia Teachers Union, which confirmed her death.
“There are no words to capture the loss Nova Scotia has suffered today. This is a devastating time for all communities affected across our province,” NSTU President Paul Wozney said in a statement on Sunday.
McCully’s sister, Jenny Kierstead, said the family’s “hearts are broken” by their loss. “Our condolences go out to the other family members who are affected by this tragedy. Thank you for your support, it’s a hard day.”
Two healthcare workers – veteran nurse Heather O’Brien and continuing care assistant Kristen Beaton – were also killed in the shooting, the Victorian Order of Nurses Canada (VON Canada), a non-profit medical charity, confirmed on Monday.
O’Brien was a “wife, mother and grandmother” who “shared her deep caring of others as a VON nurse for nearly 17 years”, the group said in a statement, while Beaton, a wife and mother, was “caring and compassionate”.
“We mourn their loss, and we mourn for their families,” said VON Canada President and CEO Jo-Anne Poirier.
Deadliest in Canada’s history
The shooting is the deadliest in Canadian history, surpassing 1989’s Ecole Polytechnique massacre in Montreal, Quebec, which left 14 women dead.

RCMP officers stand on Portapique Beach Road after Gabriel Wortman, a suspected shooter, went on a rampage in Nova Scotia [John Morris/Reuters] 

In a news conference on Monday, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that “such a tragedy should never have occurred”.
“Violence of any kind has no place in Canada. We stand with you and we grieve with you, and you can count on our government’s full support during this incredibly painful time,” he said.
Trudeau added that while the COVID-19 pandemic will prevent people from mourning together in-person, an online vigil for the victims will take place on Friday evening.
“As we learn more about what happened yesterday, it’s important that we come together to support communities.”
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Several dead in shooting in German city of Hanau

At least eight people were killed in two shooting incidents late on Wednesday in the German city of Hanau, police said. Police special units are chasing an unknown number of perpetrators, who fled the scene of the attack in the city of around 90,000 people near Frankfurt.  More: Germany far-right group was ‘plotting Christchurch-style attack’ Gunman…

Several dead in shooting in German city of Hanau

At least eight people were killed in two shooting incidents late on Wednesday in the German city of Hanau, police said.
Police special units are chasing an unknown number of perpetrators, who fled the scene of the attack in the city of around 90,000 people near Frankfurt. 
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According to local media reports, three people were killed in front of the first bar and five in front of the second.
Heavily armed police sealed off two streets in the city of Hanau, where ambulances had rushed, while a police helicopter hovered over the city.
Public broadcaster Hessischer Rundfunk earlier reported that the first shots were fired at a shisha bar in the city centre, with witnesses saying they had heard eight or nine shots.

Forensic experts are seen outside one of the two shisha bars targeted in the late-night attack on Wednesday [Kai Pfaffenbach/Reuters]

The report said that the perpetrators then drove to the western neighbourhood of Kesselstadt before they started shooting again at another shisha bar.
The motive for the shootings remain unclear.
Police have set up a hotline for members of the public with information that could lead to the suspects.
Germany has been targeted in recent years by several extremist attacks, one of which killed 12 people in the heart of Berlin in December 2016. 

SOURCE:
News agencies

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Thailand mass shooting: What we know so far

At least 29 people have been killed and 57 others wounded in an hours-long shooting spree in northeastern Thailand that ended in a shopping centre, where most of the victims were killed. Officials said the attacker, a Thai soldier with a grudge, was fatally shot by security forces on Sunday morning after an overnight standoff at the…

Thailand mass shooting: What we know so far

At least 29 people have been killed and 57 others wounded in an hours-long shooting spree in northeastern Thailand that ended in a shopping centre, where most of the victims were killed.
Officials said the attacker, a Thai soldier with a grudge, was fatally shot by security forces on Sunday morning after an overnight standoff at the complex in Nakhon Ratchasima city.
Here is what we know so far about the mass shooting:
What happened?
The attack began around 3pm (08:00 GMT) on Saturday, when the gunman, identified as Jakrapanth Thomma, opened fire in a house, before moving to an army camp and then to the shopping centre in Nakhon Ratchasima, about 250km (155 miles) from the capital, Bangkok.
Jakrapanth killed his commanding officer, Colonel Anantharot Krasae, then stole an assault weapon and ammunition from the army base’s arsenal.
The gunman then fled the base and went on a shooting spree, opening fire indiscriminately at the Terminal 21 shopping centre.

He posted written messages on Facebook during the attack before his account was shut down by the social media network.
In a video he posted on Facebook that was later published by media outlets, Jakrapanth said, “I’m tired. I’m too tired to move my finger any more,” as he gestured to his index finger while holding a gun.
In other posts he wrote messages such as “Should I surrender?” and “Three bodies were for revenge, the rest were self-defence”.
Hundreds of people were seen fleeing the mall in groups as the police and army launched rescues during the more than 12-hour standoff. The shooter remained in the mall overnight before he was shot by police on Sunday.
Volleys of gunfire rang out as the siege ran on till dawn, hours after Thai security services stormed the ground floor and freed tens of terrified shoppers.
Purported video from the scene – shared on social media – showed snipers on elevated walkways aiming their rifles downwards as heavy gunfire echoed across a concourse.
The province’s governor, Wichien Chantaranochai, on Sunday night said a total of 29 people had been killed by the attacker and 57 were wounded.
What did the survivors see?
Evacuees recounted how an ordinary Saturday at the busy shopping centre descended into horror as the gunman entered.
“It was like a dream … I’m grateful I survived,” Sottiyanee Unchalee, 48, told AFP news agency, explaining how she hid in the toilet of a gym inside the mall as she heard the gunfire.
Filipino teacher Aldrin Baliquing said he was ushered into a storeroom by staff as the shooting began.
“We were there for six gruelling hours … I’m in shock,” he said.

Frightened shoppers sent cascades of messages to friends and family on social media from their hiding spots in storerooms, toilets and under tables as the gunman stalked the mall.
Witnesses said the police took a long time before they were rescued.
“It was frightening because I could hear the occasional gunshot … we waited a long time for the police to come and help us, many hours,” Suvanarat Jirattanasakul, a survivor of the attack, said.
Another shopper who escaped told local Amarin TV that the shooter was “aiming for the heads” and said his colleague died at the scene.
“I heard so many gunshots. He was shooting everywhere and his shots were very precise,” said the man, identified as Diaw.
Thairath news outlet published security camera footage of the shooter in the mall, clad in black and holding a rifle.
“It was total panic, it was like a zombie movie,” Chanatip Somsakul, 33, said of his escape with his wife and three-year-old daughter.
“People jumped on motorbikes and ran in all directions.”
What have authorities said about the incident?
Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha confirmed the shooter’s death in a press briefing on Sunday and added that the government would shoulder the costs for victims’ healthcare and funerals.
Prayuth said the shooting might have stemmed from a personal dispute over the sale of a house, although the exact motive remained unclear.

“They negotiated a home sale deal and had an argument about the payments involved. They were fighting for three days. No one thought it would escalate,” the prime minister said.
Prayuth said Jakrapanth had overpowered security at the barracks’ arsenal.
“This was not carelessness. We don’t leave the arsenal depot alone – we had people guarding it.”
Who was the attacker?
The shooter has been identified by authorities as 32-year-old soldier Jakrapanth Thomma. He worked at an army base about 250km (155 miles) from Bangkok.
CCTV footage posted on social media showed the gunman inside the shopping centre, dressed in black and wearing a mask, his gun slung over his shoulder and no sign of other people around.
Army sources said he was a sharpshooter who had taken many tactical courses, including planning ambushes, as well as a gun enthusiast who often posed with weapons on social media.
“The soldier that started this rampage was a really trained soldier. He was fully armed by robbing ammunition development. At the same time when he went to that mall there were a thousand people in there,” Sean Boonpracong, former national security adviser to the Yingluck Shinawatra government said.
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