BANGKOK: Thai police arrested a 14-year-old suspected gunman on Tuesday (Oct 3) after a deadly shooting at Bangkok’s Siam Paragon mall.
Two people were killed, both women from China and Myanmar, according to National Police Chief Torsak Sukvimol. Five people were injured, he told reporters.
The death toll was revised down from an earlier figure of three provided by Thai emergency services.
Torsak added that the teenager was in custody but was too confused to undergo questioning.
“He is a mental patient at Rajavithi Hospital and he has not been taking his medication,” Torsak said.
“He said it was like there was another him telling him who to shoot.”
Chaos erupted in the late afternoon after gunfire was reported at the upmarket mall, one of Bangkok’s top shopping destinations in the heart of the Thai capital.
“The attacker was arrested. In fact, he surrendered,” Thai Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin earlier told reporters.
Srettha visited the scene of the shooting as well as calling on the wounded in hospital. He also offered condolences to the victims’ families and said he was monitoring the situation closely.
“What I care about most right now is the safety of all citizens,” he wrote on X. “I ask all workers to monitor the situation, and may everyone be safe.”
“From now on, the Thai government will implement the highest safety measures for the safety of all tourists.”
A private school called The Essence, just metres from Siam Paragon, confirmed the suspect was one of its students and offered condolences to the victims’ families.
“We will collaborate with the authorities and investigators for the benefit of those involved,” Wiwat Catithammanit, director of the US$4,000-a-term school said in a statement.
Video footage showed a long-haired boy wearing a black shirt, glasses and a cap with a US flag motif being taken into custody by police.
Security camera footage shared on social media showed the suspect kneeling on the ground in an enclosed area in an apparent surrender.
Police officers then shattered a glass panel before moving in to detain him. A handgun was recovered from the scene.
“RUN, RUN, RUN”
Hundreds of people, including children, were earlier seen pouring out of the mall into torrential rain.
“It happened in just a few minutes. We saw all the people run, run, run, we didn’t understand what was happening,” said 26-year-old Shir Yahav from Israel, who was at a designer store at the time of the shooting.
Siam Paragon is Thailand’s most famous mall, hugely popular with locals and tourists alike with its high-end stores, aquarium, movie theatre and hugely popular food court dining.
In 2013, it was named the world’s most photographed place by Instagram.
Word of the incident first spread on social media, as users shared footage of the chaos with several people saying that they heard gunshots.
A video shared by X user @janejanejuta showed shoppers and mall employees crouching down and taking cover at what appeared to be a food court.
A man can be heard urging the group to sit down.
Susinee, a 35-year-old restaurant worker, said she and her colleagues bolted out of their Japanese ramen outlet when they heard gunshots.
“We just ran out,” she said, standing with half a dozen of her colleagues.
The mall said it had evacuated shoppers and staff immediately, stressing safety was of the utmost importance.
“Siam Paragon would like to express our deep apologies for the unexpected event,” it said in a statement.
The nearby Siam BTS Station was shuttered at about 4.40pm local time.
Officers were seen directing people away from the Siam Paragon exit, which is connected to the platform. Scores of people were also gathered outside the station waiting to be let in, with some managing to duck through.
Services resumed about an hour later.
“I was very shocked when I heard the news because I was working in Central World,” a commuter at Siam BTS station told CNA on Tuesday evening.
“The public should be better informed of incidents like these instead of having to search for updates on X … If there was an SMS alert system, for instance, there would be more safety,” said 22-year-old Ms Punyika Changthom.
AMBULANCES, POLICE PRESENCE
Traffic outside Siam Paragon was heavy when CNA arrived at the scene at about 6.30pm.
Ambulances and police cars lined the street and scores of medical personnel and security officers were seen.
The shooting comes just days before the one-year anniversary of one of the bloodiest days in recent Thai history, when a former police officer armed with a knife and gun attacked a nursery, murdering 24 children and 12 adults.