UPDATE: Police said the gunman was apprehended at about 10.45am
BANGKOK — Police said a man who fired at least 40 shots in public close to Chulalongkorn University was arrested on Friday morning after hours of standoff.
Police identified the gunman as Ekkachai Charueksilp, 44, who sent pedestrians scurrying for cover when he started firing his handgun at multiple directions from a sports equipment store. The incident came just days after a soldier killed 29 victims in Thailand’s worst ever mass shooting.
Police said there is no report of any injury in today’s shooting but at least one witness said the gunman aimed his firearm at pedestrians at one point. Some buildings in the area were also struck with the bullets.
“At first he was shooting into the sky. He fired three shots. And then he aimed at my direction,” one witness said. “I could hear sound of metals clanging.”
Police cordoned off the alley of Chula Soi 10 where Ekkachai was hiding. Members of the public were advised to steer clear while the operation is ongoing. The media were also asked to refrain from livebroadcasting the standoff.
Ekkachai was later apprehended shortly after Arintaraj 26, the same police commando team that recently took down the gunman in Korat’s mass killings, arrived at the scene
Police said Ekkachai had an argument with his family before leaving his home with a handgun.
Although police spokesman Kitsana Phatanacharoen said the incident is not another “mass shooting” as reported by some on social media, there is a widespread fear in Thailand over a possible copycat of the killings in Korat.
Two people were already arrested this past week for threatening to shoot up shopping malls.