On Saturday, a man, who was later identified as an army sergeant, walked into a mall in Nakhon Ratchasima province and opened fire. It took several hours for the security forces to finally eliminate the shooter, who barricaded himself inside the building while also live-streaming part of the massacre on social media.

A mass shooting at the Terminal 21 shopping mall, in the centre of the city of Nakhon Ratchasima, also known as Korat, has claimed the lives of at least 21 people, including one special forces policeman, with 63 people injured, according to Thailand's health authorities.

Other reports say a total of 20 people were killed and 42 more wounded, as head of the Nakhon Ratchasima Provincial Office of Public Health told a news conference in the city.

The shooter was later eliminated by security forces, Thai police confirmed, tweeting "mission completed".

After killing his fellow troops and a woman at a military base outside Nakhon Ratchasima, the shooter, armed with an assault rifle, headed to the mall, where he continued the massacre and reportedly took 16 people hostage.

People were seen leaving the mall in panic as gunshots were heard in the area.

Local police and soldiers had to storm into the Korat shopping centre while the soldier was engaged in a shooting rampage and assist hundreds of people in escaping, according to the Thai Defence Ministry. Commander in Chief of the Royal Thai Army Apirat Kongsompong was also spotted arriving at the scene.

According to Thai media reports, the shooter's mother arrived at the scene in a bid to convince her son to surrender. The officers reportedly reached out to her as soon as the killer's identity was confirmed.

Thai Special Forces had examined all four floors of the main part of the Terminal 21 initially but did not locate either the shooter or the hostages he was said to be holding, as he managed to escape the building temporarily and entered into a shootout with special forces in the mall's parking garage, killing one serviceman and injuring two others.

The shooter then barricaded himself inside the building, this time reportedly in the mall's basement, before the special forces could finally subdue the mass killer.