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Guns and social media: the soldier behind Thailand’s mass shooting

NAKHON RATCHASIMA, Thailand: The “pings” from the steel targets at a gun vary ring out as a baby-faced shooter smiles for the digicam – a chilling prelude to the mall bloodbath by a Thai soldier who shared his prowess as a marksman on social media.

However greater than a day after he was shot lifeless following a close to 17-hour capturing spree that killed 29 folks and left dozens extra wounded, the killer – Jakrapanth Thomma – stays one thing of an enigma.

The Thai military, highly effective but reliant on conscripts and the projection of self-discipline, has launched few particulars concerning the 31-year-old, blaming his meltdown on a “private dispute” over debt.

“He did not have a foul file, solely this time,” military spokesman Colonel Winthai Suvaree informed AFP.

Even Thailand’s gossip-prone native media has thus far shied away from sharing rumours about him, whereas Fb was swift to close down his account because the capturing unfolded.

What is understood is the gunman was a Sergeant-Main from Chaiyaphum province with a penchant for posting images and movies with weapons and fight gear on Fb – a social media obsessive with no filter for his love of weapons.

One photograph has the caption “Name of Responsibility” – the title of a well-liked immersive first-person shooter sport – whereas one other is of a revolver with a Buddhist amulet wrapped round it.

After graduating from highschool, Jakrapanth joined the Surathampitak navy camp within the northeastern metropolis of Korat, formally referred to as Nakhon Ratchasima.

Lethal accuracy

On Feb eight he went on a rampage, turning the town into an city warzone and chronicling the carnage in dwell Fb updates that drew comparisons with the 2019 assaults on mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand.

He first stole weapons from the camp’s arms depot, killing a soldier as he raided the arsenal – a spot he knew nicely after working as a squad chief there.

Throughout his rampage he appeared to have picked off victims with lethal accuracy, together with photographs to the pinnacle that left some survivors needing mind surgical procedure.

So as to add to the horror of the assault, he livestreamed slivers of it on Fb the place he additionally mused callously concerning the destiny of his victims.

“Rattling I bought a cramp”, he posted. “Nevertheless, nobody can keep away from loss of life.”

Certainly one of his final posts screams with fury at being wronged.

“Getting wealthy from dishonest, taking benefit from others, they need to assume that cash might be spent in hell,” he wrote.

In an interview with a Thai tv station, a person claiming to be a buddy stated the cash at stake should have been substantial to have provoked such rage.

Thailand’s prime minister stated Jakrapanth had psychologically unravelled after believing he had been disadvantaged of a fee associated to the sale of a property.

“This man had issues, even his buddies did not find out about it,” Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-O-Cha informed reporters.

However the actual motive could have vanished together with his life within the basement of the mall on Sunday as commandos closed in after an atrocity with out precedent in Thailand. – AFP

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