A former police officer burst into a daycare center in northeast Thailand on Thursday, killing dozens of children and teachers, then shooting others as he fled in the deadliest rampage in history. the country’s history.

The attacker, who authorities say was fired earlier this year for a drug-related offense, killed himself after killing his wife and child at home.

A witness said daycare staff locked the door when they saw the attacker approaching with a gun, but he fought his way inside.

At least 36 people were killed in the attack, according to police spokesman Archayon Kraithong. At least 10 people were injured, six of them seriously, he said. At least 24 of the dead were children, mostly preschoolers.

“The teacher who died, she had a child in her arms,” ​​an unnamed witness told Thai television Kom Chad Luek at the scene. “I didn’t think he would kill children, but he shot at the door and shot through.”

WATCH | The Thai man who attacked children was a former police officer:

Thailand daycare center shooting kills dozens

A former police officer killed at least 36 people, most of them children, in a shooting at a daycare center in Thailand before killing his own wife and child and then turning the gun on himself. It is the worst single-person massacre in Thai history.

Suspect identified

Police identified the suspect as 34-year-old former police officer Panya Kamrap. Police Major General Paisal Luesomboon told PPTV in an interview that he was fired from the force earlier this year due to drug offences.

During the attack, he used multiple weapons, including a handgun, shotgun and knife, Luesomboon said.

A poster released by Thailand’s Criminal Investigation Bureau shows the alleged attacker in the attack. Police identified the suspect as 34-year-old former policeman Panya Kamrap. (Thailand IPC/Associated Press)

The attack took place in the rural town of Uthai Sawan in Thailand’s northeast Nongbua Lamphu province, one of the poorest regions in the country, about 500 kilometers northeast of Bangkok and about 300 km south of the Laotian border.

Local police chief Damrongsak Kittiprapha told reporters that the suspect was a force sergeant before he was fired and that the main weapon he was using was a 9mm pistol he had himself. even bought.

“We are still investigating all of this and need to learn from it,” he said. “Today is the first day and we don’t have all the details.”

Domestic homicides followed attack: police

Police did not give a full breakdown of the death toll, but said at least 22 children and two adults were killed at the daycare. At least two other children were killed elsewhere.

Gun-related deaths in Thailand are much lower than countries like the United States and Brazil, but higher than other Asian countries like Japan and Singapore that have strict gun control laws. fire arms.

Residents line up to donate blood at Uthai Sawan Hospital after the attack which police say also left at least 10 people injured, six of them critically. (Warnwarn Ch/Associated Press)

Last month, a clerk fired on colleagues at the Thai Army War College in Bangkok, killing two and injuring another before being arrested.

The country’s worst mass shooting involved a disgruntled soldier who opened fire in and around a shopping mall in the northeastern city of Nakhon Ratchasima in 2020, killing 29 and holding back forces security for about 16 hours before finally being killed by them.

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