BANGKOK (AP) — Hundreds of shoppers fled a major shopping mall in the center of Thailand’s capital on Tuesday afternoon after what sounded like gunshots were heard inside.
It was not immediately clear if shots had been fired, though police said there were injuries and some frightened shoppers were still hunkering down inside Bangkok’s Siam Paragon Mall.
The incident prompted authorities to shut access to the nearby Siam elevated train stop, preventing commuters from exiting the transit station as the evening rush hour began and intense rain pounded the city, according to an Associated Press journalist at the scene.
First responders could be seen entering the mall as sirens wailed outside.
Police spokesman Archayon Kraithong said officers in the area were ordered to secure the scene and that he would provide details as soon as possible.
He didn’t provide information about casualties, but the police force said on its official Facebook page that there were injuries.
Witnesses said crowds of people left the building, one of several shopping centers in the area popular with tourists and well-heeled Thais alike.
Chinese tourist Liu Shiying told the AP that she saw people running and saying someone had opened fire. She said she heard gunshots and an alarm ringing, and that the lights in the mall went out.
“We’re temporarily hiding. Who dares to go out?” she said while taking cover. She was later able to leave.
Multiple videos uploaded to social media showed people running out of the building. The public broadcaster Thai PBS said several gunshot-like sounds were heard but had no other details.
Mall officials could not immediately be reached for comment.
Gun violence is not uncommon in Thailand, though mass shootings are rare.
The incident happened days before Thais were planning to mark the anniversary of a grisly gun and knife attack at a rural day care center that killed 36 people, most of them preschoolers, on Oct. 6, 2022.
In 2020, a disgruntled soldier opened fire in and around a mall in the northeastern city of Nakhon Ratchasima, killing 29 people and holding off security forces for some 16 hours before eventually being killed by them.