A former policeman on Thursday killed 34 people in a mass shooting at a children’s day-care centre in Nongbua Lamphu, north-eastern Thailand, before shooting himself dead.
According to the police, the victims included 22 children, some as young as two years old. At least 12 people were injured as well.
Watch: Ex-cop kills 34 people in shocking Thai mass shooting
The gunman reportedly killed his wife and child, too, before killing himself. A local newspaper report identified the shooter as former Pol Cpl Panya Khamrab. Agency reports quoted the police as saying he was discharged from service for drug-related reasons.
Mass #shooting at a #childcare centre in #Thailand’s northeastern province of Nong Bua Lam Phu. Initial reports indicate 38 people killed, mostly children.
Police have named a suspect, a 34-year Ex police officer.
He’s still on the run. #กราดยิง #กราดยิงหนองบัวลำภู pic.twitter.com/dfsfqebTUk
— Chaudhary Parvez (@ChaudharyParvez) October 6, 2022
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A rare incident
The incident took place early in the afternoon in the centre of the town of Nongbua Lamphu. Around 30 children were at the centre when Khamrab barged in around lunchtime.
A district official, Jidapa Boonsom, said he first shot four or five staff members, including a teacher who was eight months pregnant. “At first, people thought it was fireworks,” she added.
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Mass shootings are rare in Thailand. In 2020, a soldier, reportedly upset over a property deal gone sour, killed at least 29 and wounded 57 in a rampage across four locations.
The gun ownership rate in Thailand is higher than some other countries in the region. But official figures do not reveal a huge number of illegal weapons. However, many of those are indeed brought in across porous borders from strife-torn neighbours.
(With agency inputs)