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  HOME | World (Click here for more)

Shopping Mall at Heart of Thai Mass Shooting Reopens with Religious Tributes

BANGKOK – A shopping mall in the Thai city of Nakhon Ratchasima that became the gruesome epicenter of a mass shooting that shocked the nation over the weekend reopened Thursday with a Buddhist ceremony to remember the dead.

Sgt. Jakrapanth Thomma killed 29 people, most at the Terminal 21 shopping mall, in a bloody rampage on Saturday afternoon before he was shot dead by police the following day. Another 58 people were injured in the attack.

Buddhist monks led a religious ceremony to reopen the center in the city also known as Korat, which was attended by hundreds of people, including members of the security forces. Passersby laid flowers to pay their tributes to the victims of what was the worst mass shooting in Thailand’s recent history.

“Korat, together we are stronger, let’s move forward together,” was the motto adopted for the event on social media.

Prasert Sriuranpong, the head of Siam Retail Development, which owns Terminal 21, told a press conference that all stores in the mall had reopened, save two that were still undergoing checks for damage.

He said businesses in the shopping complex would not have to pay rent for the month. Siam Retail also said it would allocate 100,000 baht (about $3,000) to those injured in the shooting and to the families of those killed and 50,000 bhat to children who lost their parents.

Funerals for the victims of the attack have been taking place throughout the week.

According to authorities, Jakrapanth began his attack on Saturday afternoon when he shot his military superior and then his mother-in-law.

He drove to the military base where he was stationed in Nakhon Ratchasima, some 259 kilometers northeast of Bangkok, where he stole several automatic weapons, including an M60 and an HK33, and ammunition.

The assailant proceeded to open fire in the city’s streets. He later fired indiscriminately on shoppers at the mall.

He was killed on Sunday morning, some 18 hours after he launched his deadly rampage.

He was responsible for the death of 23 civilians, three police officers and three soldiers.

The Thai Army has launched an investigation into the events and has pledged to improve security at military barracks. It will also help compensate the victims’ families.

Thailand is one of the countries with the most firearms in the world, with an average of 15 per 100 people, according to international organization Gun Policy.

Despite this, mass shootings are unusual and Saturday’s attack claimed the most victims in the country’s recent history, prompted shock around the nation.

 

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