Active shooter response drill startles visitors at Central Ladprao mall

Photo: Khemkhaeng / CC-BY-SA 3.0
Photo: Khemkhaeng / CC-BY-SA 3.0

An active shooter emergency response drill at a Bangkok mall this morning startled mall customers and netizens, prompting the mall to clarify that no actual shooting took place.

Terror and confusion befell patrons at Central Ladprao, when alarms began firing off at the mall at 11am. Visitors were caught by surprise by the unannounced drill, with many momentarily believing there was an actual shooting.

The mall issued a statement clarifying the drill after the fact via their socials.

“Central Ladprao Shopping Center, in collaboration with Ladprao Police Station and the Crime Suppression Division, is conducting an Active Shooter emergency response drill today and tomorrow (14-15 Nov 2023) from 8am to 10am,” the statement read. “This is a proactive measure to prevent and instill confidence among service users within the shopping center. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.”

Tweets from people who were at the scene said that the mall had planned the drill internally but had not announced the plan to customers. The alarm was reportedly so loud that people walking outside the mall also tweeted about the incident.

#CentralLadprao trended to the top of Thai Twitter, with initial tweets saying they believed that an actual shooting had taken place. Thais are still reeling from the tragedy that struck Siam Paragon, when a 14-year-old male shooter killed three and injured four in early October.

After the police apprehended the shooter, they told the media that they had difficulty conversing with the suspect as he was unable to give clear statements. They said the suspect had suffered a mental breakdown and had not taken his prescribed medication.

The suspect was charged on six counts of criminal offenses, namely premeditated murder, attempted murder, possessing a firearm without permission, carrying a firearm into a public area without permission and shooting in a public area without permission.

Three men were later arrested who sold firearms and bullets to the suspect one month before the shooting occurred.

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