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At least 36 killed in shooting at Thailand child-care centre, police say

At least 36 people were killed on Thursday in an attack that began at a child-care centre in northeastern Thailand, authorities said. It is being called the country's deadliest rampage, with most of the victims shot.

Most of the dead in shooting in the northeastern province of Nongbua Lamphu were children

In this image taken from video, a woman is comforted outside the site of a shooting at a Thailand daycare centre Thursday, in the town of Uthai Sawan, in the northeastern province of Nongbua Lamphu. At least 36 people were killed in the attack, police said. (Mungkorn Sriboonreung Rescue Group/AP)

A former police officer burst into a daycare centre in northeastern Thailand on Thursday, killing dozens of children and teachers and then firing on more people as he fled in the deadliest rampage in the nation's history.

The assailant, who authorities said was fired from the force earlier this year because of a drug offence, took his own life after killing his wife and child at home.

A witness said staff at the daycare locked the door when they saw the assailant approaching with a gun, but he shot his way in. In footage posted online after the attack, frantic family members could be heard weeping outside the daycare.

At least 36 people were killed in the attack, according to police spokesperson Archayon Kraithong. At least 10 people were wounded, including six critically, he said. At least 24 of the dead were children, mostly preschoolers.

"The teacher who died, she had a child in her arms," a witness, whose name wasn't given, told Thailand's Kom Chad Luek television at the scene. "I didn't think he would kill children, but he shot at the door and shot right through it."

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

Thailand daycare shooting leaves dozens dead

2 months ago
Duration 1:32
A former policeman killed at least 36 people, most of them children, in a shooting rampage at a daycare centre in Thailand before killing his own wife and child and then turning his weapon on himself. It's the worst mass killing committed by a single person in Thailand's history.

Suspect identified

Police identified the suspect as 34-year-old former police officer Panya Kamrap. Police Maj. Gen. Paisal Luesomboon told PPTV in an interview that he was fired from the force earlier this year because of drug-related offences.

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

A poster released by the Thailand Criminal Investigations Bureau shows the suspected assailant in the attack. Police identified the suspect as 34-year-old former police officer Panya Kamrap. (Thailand CIB/The Associated Press)

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

Local police chief Damrongsak Kittiprapha told reporters that the suspect was a sergeant on the force before he was fired, and that the main weapon he used was a 9mm pistol that he had purchased himself.

"We are still investigating all of this and have 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 have not given a full breakdown of the death toll, but they have said at least 22 children and two adults were killed at the daycare. At least two more children were killed elsewhere.

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

Residents line up to donate blood at the hospital in Uthai Sawan after the attack that police said also saw at least 10 people wounded, six critically. (Warnwarn Ch/The Associated Press)

Last month, a clerk shot co-workers at Thailand's Army War College in Bangkok, killing two and wounding another before he was arrested.

The country's previous worst mass shooting involved a disgruntled soldier who opened fire in and around a mall in the northeastern city of Nakhon Ratchasima in 2020, killing 29 people and holding off security forces for some 16 hours before eventually being killed by them.

Corrections

  • The Associated Press earlier reported that the attack took place in the town of Nongbua Lamphu. In fact, it took place in the town of Uthai Sawan, in the province of Nongbua Lamphu
    Oct 06, 2022 2:13 PM ET

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