BANGKOK – Army Chief, Gen. Apirat Kongsompong apologized for the mass shooting in Nakhon Ratchasima, carried out by a junior army officer and said he took all the blame for that.
In a press briefing on Tuesday, Gen. Apirat extended profound sorrow to the families of the victims of the Korat massacre. The army will unconditionally offer to recruit children of the dead victims to work for the army if they want.
The gunman worked in the army unit, so he knew well about the armory. Stricter security measures will be adopted at the military’s armories, he said.
The non-commissioned army officer, Jakrapanth Thomma on Saturday shot dead his supervisor and the mother-in-law of his supervisor before stealing guns and ammunition from the Surathampithak army camp and going on a rampage to open fire at innocent people indiscriminately, including shoppers at the Terminal 21 mall.
The motive behind the mass shooting is related to unfairness to the gunman from his commanding officer and a relative over the property deal, said the army chief.
He is working on a direct channel to accept complains from junior officers if they are taken advantage of by their superiors. The complaints will be kept confidential, Gen. Apirat added.
“No one wants this to happen. Don’t blame the army. Don’t blame soldiers. They could be discouraged. Blame me. I take all the blame for that,” says the army chief with tears in his eyes. The 17- hour shooting spree claimed 30 lives and left 58 injured.