BANGKOK — Update: Associated Press reported that at least 21 one people were killed including the gunman who was shot dead inside the mall.
BREAKING: Thai officials say gunman who killed at least 21 people has been shot dead inside a mall where he was holed up.— The Associated Press (@AP) February 9, 2020
At least 21 people are dead and 31 injured in Thailand, allegedly at the hands of a Thai soldier, according to police and local media outlets.
Police said the shooting took place in the Nakhon Ratchasima province and that the alleged culprit is still in the Terminal 21 mall. The situation is ongoing, according to a police spokesperson.
People in the area were advised to take caution as police say the suspect was still shooting his gun.
Thai police said they are clearing much of the mall, but have not said if the suspect has been apprehended.
Around 10:30 a.m. ET, Thai police told those who were stuck in the mall to hide in a safe place and to mute their phones.
A U.S. citizen was rescued and is unhurt, acording to preliminary information provided to U.S. law enforcement. Authorities are investigating whether the act is terrorism-related.
According to The Associated Press, the suspect allegedly shot and killed a soldier and a woman over a land dispute, police told the outlet. The total number of gunshot victims is unclear at this time.
Preliminary details shared with the U.S. say the suspect then stole a military Humvee and weapons from an Army base where several more guards were injured. The suspect then fled to the local mall and fired at shoppers inside, where he reportedly held people hostage.
The alleged shooter posted messages to Facebook during the attack before his account was taken down, according to police.
"We don't know why he did this. It appears he went mad," defense ministry spokesman Kongcheep Tantrawanit said, according to Reuters.
The U.S. State Department is advising citizens in Thailand to avoid the area and to contact loved ones to check if they are safe.