Two killed in shooting at Thai military facility

A Thai soldier killed two people and wounded another in a shooting at a military facility in Bangkok on Wednesday, police and the army said.

The army said in a statement that Staff Sgt. Youngyoth Mongkornkim of the Royal Thai Army War College shot three other soldiers around 8:45 am (0145 GMT).

Kissana Vathancharoen, deputy national police spokesman, told reporters that the 59-year-old tried to flee the scene but turned himself in around 10 am.

The army would like to extend its deepest condolences to the families of the dead and wounded soldiers. This incident was a loss for both the families and the organization. “It was something that was not expected to happen,” deputy army spokesman Colonel Serishan Nga Thong said in a statement.

The cause and motives of the accident are being investigated.”

In the aftermath of the shooting, police officers and soldiers guarded the gates of the facility, part of a large complex of military buildings north of the capital.

In its statement, the army said the victims were Staff Sergeant Nopparat Intasonthorn and Staff Sergeant Major Prakarn Sensong.

The army added that the third soldier, Staff Sergeant Major Yongyuth Panyanwat, was taken to hospital for treatment.

Acting Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan told reporters that police were investigating but it was too early to confirm the motive for the shooting.

Another senior army officer, Major General Boren Thongprabhai, told reporters that the suspect had mental health issues after brain surgery following a motorcycle accident.

Police spokesman Kisana said that since the suspect was a service soldier, the case would be handled by a military court.

While Thailand has high rates of gun ownership, mass shootings are extremely rare.

But in the past year, there have been at least two more cases of shooting deaths by active duty soldiers, according to the Bangkok Post.

And in 2020, in one of the deadliest incidents in the kingdom in recent years, a soldier shot dead 29 people in a 17-hour rampage and wounded dozens before the commandos shot him dead.

The mass shooting, which shocked Thailand, was associated with a debt dispute between the gunman, Sergeant Jakrapanth Thoma and a senior officer, and the army’s top officers were trying their best to portray the killer as a rogue soldier.

The military has powerful influence in many aspects of life in Thailand from politics to business, and has intervened to seize power several times over decades, most recently in 2014.

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