Bangkok, Thailand – One person was killed and six wounded in a shooting in a packed Bangkok shopping mall on Tuesday, a Thai medical official said in revising down an earlier toll, with police arresting a 14-year-old suspect.
Hundreds of people fled the upmarket Siam Paragon mall in the heart of the Thai capital as shots rang out around 4:30pm (0930 GMT), witnesses told AFP.
The Metropolitan Investigation Bureau of the Royal Thai Police said on its official Facebook page that officers had arrested a 14-year-old boy over the shooting.
Video footage showed a long-haired boy wearing a black shirt, glasses and a cap with a US flag motif being taken into custody by police.
Yuthana Srettanan, director of the Erawan Emergency Centre, told reporters that one woman had been killed, correcting his initial report of three deaths.
“The deceased is a Chinese national, according to the preliminary examination,” Yuthana told reporters.
Six people were wounded, he said, with five in critical condition. All but one of those who were shot were women.
Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin said he was monitoring the situation closely.
“What I care about most right now is the safety of all citizens,” he wrote on X, formerly Twitter.
“I ask all workers to monitor the situation, and may everyone be safe.”
Witnesses described chaotic scenes as the attack unfolded at Siam Paragon, one of Bangkok’s top shopping destinations, hugely popular with tourists and Thais alike.
“At around 4.30 pm, I heard loud gun noises, continuously, about 10 times,” Thanpawasit Singthongkham, 31, who works at a Japanese restaurant in the mall, told AFP.
“Then the department store announced that there was a shooting. The emergency sign was turned on and everyone ran to get out.”
In footage shared with AFP, he recorded a scrum of terrified shoppers scrabbling under metal security gates blocking shop entrances, before they fled down emergency stairwells as sirens blared.
In another video, shared on Facebook and verified by AFP, scores of people can be seen in the mall’s basement car park being directed by loudspeakers.
Dozens of police vehicles and a number of ambulances could be seen outside one of the shopping centre’s main entrances in the wake of the shooting.
“I heard multiple gunshots – about three times – and saw people running around towards the exits,” Nattanon Dungsunenarn, who was shopping in a branch of Boots pharmacy, told AFP.
“It was very chaotic and seemed like many people didn’t know what exactly was going on.”
People were still being escorted from the mall, while bystanders could be seen walking along the gridlocked road outside.
“We didn’t know what was happening, then staff from a shop asked us to go inside and said there was a shooter,” Chinese tourist Xiong Ying, 41, told AFP.
“Everyone was trying to find a place to hide. So many people were terrified, just like a scene in the zombie movies.
“I now feel quite scared. It happened just like two minutes after we left by crossing the bridge. We even took photos there.”
The shooting comes just days before the one-year anniversary of one of the bloodiest days in recent Thai history, when an ex-police officer armed with a knife and gun attacked a nursery, murdering 24 children and 12 adults.
In 2020, a former army officer went on a rampage in a shopping mall in Korat, murdering 29 people and wounding scores more.