Berserk Thai sergeant major shoots at least 21 at shopping mall - as he remains ...

A rogue Thai solider who has killed at least 21 people in a gun rampage inside a shopping mall had become angry over a financial dispute, it has been reported - as he remains holed up more than 14 hours after he first struck.  

Sergeant Major Jakrapanth Thomma, 32, is hiding out in the basement of Terminal 21 shopping mall in Nakhon Ratchasima, a city 155 miles northeast of Bangkok, after opening fire on terrified civilians this afternoon.     

He began his murderous rampage at his barracks, where he executed his commanding officer along with another soldier, before commandeering a Humvee and tearing away from the scene.

As he drove along the motorway toward the shopping centre, Thomma opened fire on civilians at a house and a Buddhist temple before making his way inside the mall - where he was caught on CCTV stalking the corridors. 

He is now locked in a siege with police, who have helped hundreds of people escape after storming the shopping centre and escorting terrified shoppers away from the scene. 

One member of Thailand's security forces was killed and two were wounded early on Sunday in a raid on the shopping mall - in which a series of explosions and more gunfire could be heard. 

Thai media said the suspect's mother was being taken to the mall to try to persuade him to give up. As she was led to a police car, she was heard saying 'why did he do it?' with tears in her eyes.

The shooter is thought to be holed up in the basement and is exchanging gunfire with officers as they try to bring his rampage to an end - during which he also injured 31 and shot a doctor helping an injured person.  

Several volleys of gunfire were tonight heard ringing out from inside the besieged mall where the gunman is holed up. Two more casualties were seen being taken out of the building after the repeated gunfire but he is not thought to have any more hostages inside. 

'The perpetrator is still in the basement and it doesn't look as though he has hostages. We are getting close to him,' a police officer said.  

A picture shows Jakrapanth Thomma, who is the alleged attacker, in front of an explosion at the mall after he opened fire on Saturday

A picture shows Jakrapanth Thomma, who is the alleged attacker, in front of an explosion at the mall after he opened fire on Saturday

A woman who fainted is assisted by Thai security forces evacuating people stranded inside the Terminal 21 shopping mall following a gun battle, to try to stop a soldier on a rampage

A woman who fainted is assisted by Thai security forces evacuating people stranded inside the Terminal 21 shopping mall following a gun battle, to try to stop a soldier on a rampage

Armed commando soldiers direct people out of Terminal 21 Korat mall in Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand on Sunday

Armed commando soldiers direct people out of Terminal 21 Korat mall in Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand on Sunday

Soldiers run in front of the Terminal 21 shopping mall, where a mass shooting took place and the gunman is currently still hiding

Soldiers run in front of the Terminal 21 shopping mall, where a mass shooting took place and the gunman is currently still hiding

Thai security forces evacuate people stranded inside the Terminal 21 shopping mall on Sunday morning. He started his shooting spree more than 14 hours ago

Thai security forces evacuate people stranded inside the Terminal 21 shopping mall on Sunday morning. He started his shooting spree more than 14 hours ago

Armed commando soldiers carry a person out of Terminal 21 Korat mall in Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand

Armed commando soldiers carry a person out of Terminal 21 Korat mall in Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand

Coffee shop staff hide in the shop as gunman Jakapanth Thomma goes on a shooting spree in Thailand on Saturday

Coffee shop staff hide in the shop as gunman Jakapanth Thomma goes on a shooting spree in Thailand on Saturday

Chilling CCTV show a gunman walking through a mall after killing at least 12 people the taking hostages in Thailand tonight

Chilling CCTV show a gunman walking through a mall after killing at least 12 people the taking hostages in Thailand tonight

People run together as they are rescued by Thai commandos from Terminal 21 shopping mall, where a mass shooting took place on Saturday. The shooter remains at large as police desperately try to find him

People run together as they are rescued by Thai commandos from Terminal 21 shopping mall, where a mass shooting took place on Saturday. The shooter remains at large as police desperately try to find him

People follow a soldier after being rescued by Thai commandos from Terminal 21 shopping mall. A Thai soldier opened fire during the mid-afternoon rush. Officials say at least 21 were killed and 31 injured

People follow a soldier after being rescued by Thai commandos from Terminal 21 shopping mall. A Thai soldier opened fire during the mid-afternoon rush. Officials say at least 21 were killed and 31 injured

People run together as they are rescued by Thai commandos from Terminal 21 shopping mall, where a mass shooting took place early on Sunday morning

People run together as they are rescued by Thai commandos from Terminal 21 shopping mall, where a mass shooting took place early on Sunday morning

Visibly distraught shoppers were escorted out of the shopping mall following the horror shooting, as medics rushed to help those injured

Visibly distraught shoppers were escorted out of the shopping mall following the horror shooting, as medics rushed to help those injured 

A Thai police officer stands with some rescued people as he checks the list of people still trapped within the incident, after a suspected Thai soldier opened fire in a rampage at a shopping centre

A Thai police officer stands with some rescued people as he checks the list of people still trapped within the incident, after a suspected Thai soldier opened fire in a rampage at a shopping centre

Thai rescue workers help a injured victim after a suspected Thai soldier opened fire in a rampage at the Terminal 21 shopping mall in Thailand early on Sunday morning

Thai rescue workers help a injured victim after a suspected Thai soldier opened fire in a rampage at the Terminal 21 shopping mall in Thailand early on Sunday morning

People are evacuated from a shopping mall by members of security forces after a shooting rampage in the city of Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand on Saturday

Noppadol Sirijanya, a member of the Sawang Metta Tham Rescue Center in Nakhon Ratchasima, said a rescue team had successfully evacuated more than 100 people from the mall. The shooter is still thought to be in the area

People are evacuated from a shopping mall by members of security forces after a shooting rampage in the city of Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand on Saturday (left and right). Noppadol Sirijanya, a member of the Sawang Metta Tham Rescue Center in Nakhon Ratchasima, said a rescue team had successfully evacuated more than 100 people from the mall. The shooter is still thought to be in the area

Hundreds of people were able to escape (pictured, being escorted away from the shopping centre) after police and soldiers stormed the mall but the gunman is thought to be still at large inside

Hundreds of people were able to escape (pictured, being escorted away from the shopping centre) after police and soldiers stormed the mall but the gunman is thought to be still at large inside

Thai security forces enter a shopping mall chasing the hidden shooter after he murdered at least 21 civilians

Thai security forces enter a shopping mall chasing the hidden shooter after he murdered at least 21 civilians 

Rescue workers sit outside the Terminal 21 mall, where a mass shooting took place and the gunman is currently still hiding, in the Thai northeastern city of Nakhon Ratchasima

Rescue workers sit outside the Terminal 21 mall, where a mass shooting took place and the gunman is currently still hiding, in the Thai northeastern city of Nakhon Ratchasima

There were fears the shooter could try to hide in the panicked crowd. Images posted on social media showed people sprinting across the mall car parks and walkways once they were freed. 

Police from the Crime Suppression Division urged fleeing shoppers to 'raise their hands' and identify themselves on the ground floor 'and authorities will evacuate you'. 

Hospitals across the country were braced for a grim night ahead as residents flooded the hospitals to give blood and search for relatives.

A brave lone policeman is among those thought to have entered the shopping mall to search for the shooter. Video shows him holding a semi-automatic handgun as he stalked the empty floors of the building.

Earlier Thomma relayed his shooting spree through Facebook posts which charted the attack from army barracks in the city to the mall. 

The gunman posted photos of himself online dressed in full tactical gear and holding a rifle which he smuggled from the army compound's arsenal. 

He also posed for a photograph in front of the burning shopping centre with reports suggesting the blaze was caused by a gas canister that exploded when it was hit with a bullet.  

Thomma also wrote several posts on his Facebook page including 'should I surrender' and 'no one can escape death'.

In one Facebook video - since deleted - the assailant filmed from an open jeep saying, 'I'm tired... I can't pull my finger anymore' and making a trigger symbol with his hand.

Thomma also posted a picture of a revolver with the captions 'It is time to get excited' and and 'nobody can avoid death'. The gunman seized weapons from the army arsenal before embarking on his shooting spree.

Thomma posted pictures of himself armed in full tactical gear during the rampage in Thailand on Saturday

Thomma posted pictures of himself armed in full tactical gear during the rampage in Thailand on Saturday

Thailand security forces enter in a shopping mall as they chase a shooter hidden inside after a mass shooting in front of the Terminal 21

Thailand security forces enter in a shopping mall as they chase a shooter hidden inside after a mass shooting in front of the Terminal 21

A Thai police officer stands with some rescued people as he checks the list of people still trapped within the incident, after a suspected Thai soldier opened fire in a rampage at a shopping centre

A Thai police officer stands with some rescued people as he checks the list of people still trapped within the incident, after a suspected Thai soldier opened fire in a rampage at a shopping centre

An injured member of Thai security forces is stretchered out after a raid inside the Terminal 21 shopping mall to try to stop a soldier on a rampage after a mass shooting

An injured member of Thai security forces is stretchered out after a raid inside the Terminal 21 shopping mall to try to stop a soldier on a rampage after a mass shooting

A child is evacuated by Thai security forces at the Terminal 21 shopping mall during a raid to try to stop a soldier on a rampage after a mass shooting

A child is evacuated by Thai security forces at the Terminal 21 shopping mall during a raid to try to stop a soldier on a rampage after a mass shooting

The people trapped within the incident are rescued by the officials, after a suspected Thai soldier opened fire in a rampage at a shopping centre

The people trapped within the incident are rescued by the officials, after a suspected Thai soldier opened fire in a rampage at a shopping centre

The people trapped within the incident are rescued by the officials. According to reports, at least 21 people were killed and many more injured in the mass shooting

The people trapped within the incident are rescued by the officials. According to reports, at least 21 people were killed and many more injured in the mass shooting

The gunman, described by police as a soldier angry over a land dispute, appeared to be armed with an assault rifle, based on security camera video aired on Thai Rath television. Thai Rath said the incident began at about 3.30pm (pictured, police commandos search the mall for the shooter)

The gunman, described by police as a soldier angry over a land dispute, appeared to be armed with an assault rifle, based on security camera video aired on Thai Rath television. Thai Rath said the incident began at about 3.30pm (pictured, police commandos search the mall for the shooter)

People gather near the Terminal 21 shopping mall where a mass shooting took place on Saturday. Police were eventually able to evacuate hundreds of shoppers before the death toll soared any higher

People gather near the Terminal 21 shopping mall where a mass shooting took place on Saturday. Police were eventually able to evacuate hundreds of shoppers before the death toll soared any higher

Defence ministry spokesman Lt Gen Kongcheep Tantravanich said hundreds of people had been brought out of the complex safely, but there could be dozens still in the building (pictured, police at the scene)

Defence ministry spokesman Lt Gen Kongcheep Tantravanich said hundreds of people had been brought out of the complex safely, but there could be dozens still in the building (pictured, police at the scene)

Thomma posted a picture of this gun on his Facebook as he tore through the city of Korat in northeastern Thailand, shooting civilians, members of the armed forces, and police todday

Thomma posted a picture of this gun on his Facebook as he tore through the city of Korat in northeastern Thailand, shooting civilians, members of the armed forces, and police todday 

Police evacuated terrified shoppers from the Terminal 21 mall in the city of Nakhon Ratchasima - also known as Korat - in Thailand early on Sunday where a soldier killed at least 21 people in a shooting rampage that he relayed via Facebook posts

Police evacuated terrified shoppers from the Terminal 21 mall in the city of Nakhon Ratchasima - also known as Korat - in Thailand early on Sunday where a soldier killed at least 21 people in a shooting rampage that he relayed via Facebook posts

Video taken outside the mall showed people diving for cover as shots rang out mid-afternoon Saturday. Many were killed outside the mall, some in cars, others while walking.   

Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul said a doctor was shot while helping an injured person. A police officer also was killed, pushing the death toll to 21, Anutin said.

Hundreds of people were evacuated from the mall in small batches by police while they searched for the gunman.

'We were scared and ran to hide in toilets,' said Sumana Jeerawattanasuk, one of those rescued by police. She said seven or eight people hid in the same room as her.

'I am so glad. I was so scared of getting hurt,' she said.  

A volunteer rescue worker recounted a bloody scene of horror after his team carried four corpses to the hospital.

'I've never seen anything like this,' Peerapong Chatadee told AFP. 'I just feel so sad. He is a soldier, he should not have fired at unarmed people.'

Shortly before midnight, police announced they had secured the above-ground portion of the mall, but were still searching for the shooter. Anutin said there were no more bodies left inside, but added, 'we don't know whether there are any additional injuries or deaths or not.'  

Defense Ministry spokesman Kongcheep told Thai media that the first person killed was the commanding officer of the 22nd Ammunition Battalion, in which the suspect also served. He said the gunman had fired at others at his base and took guns and ammunition before fleeing in an army Humvee.

City and neighborhood police officers, who asked not to be identified because they were not authorized to release information, said the man fired shots as he drove to the mall.      

Local media earlier showed footage of the

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