In a shooting spree at a childcare center in Thailand on Thursday, a former policeman murdered 37 people, including 24 children. He then shot dead his wife and kid at their house before turning the pistol on himself, according to police authorities.
Police were able to identify the attacker as a former police officer who had been fired from his position last year due to drug-related charges.
A police representative told Thai PBS that the guy was on trial for narcotics offenses and had been in court just before the incident. The representative said that although he had arrived to pick up his child from the childcare center, he started shooting when he could not locate the youngster there.
At least 37 people died as a consequence of the event, according to police spokeswoman Archayon Krathong. Twelve more persons suffered injuries. At least 24 of the casualties were children, making up the majority of the victims.
According to witnesses, the shooter was also spotted using a knife in the attack in Uthai Sawan, a town located 500 kilometers (310 miles) northeast of Bangkok in the province of Nong Bua Lamphu, according to district police officer Chakkraphat Wichitvaidya.
A police official, Paisal Luesomboon, also told Thai PBS that witnesses claimed to have seen the assailant wield a knife and a pistol. According to Paisal, he opened fire and killed children at the Utai Sawan childcare facility.
When the assailant came, there were fewer children at the facility than normal because of the severe rain that had kept many people away, according to district administrator Jidapa Boonsom, who at the time was working at a nearby office.
The attacker opened fire on four or five daycare center employees before entering the building around lunchtime, according to Jidapa.
She claimed that first, many mistook gunfire for fireworks. Once we realized there was gunfire, we fled for cover in great fear. I’ve never seen anything like that, there were many children slaughtered.
According to Jidapa, the assailant broke into a closed room containing sleeping children. She added that a teacher who was eight months pregnant was also slain with a knife and that she believed he killed children there.
Reuters was unable to quickly verify the footage.
Charge for drugs
The shooting was described as a horrific act by Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-Ocha in a statement posted on Facebook.
According to the statement, he gave the police chief the go-ahead to be at the site right away and conduct the appropriate steps, as well as orders for all parties concerned to offer urgent assistance to everyone who was harmed.
The area will be visited by Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan on Thursday, according to his office. By late afternoon, officials were stationed in front of the pink, one-story structure that housed the childcare center, which was flanked by grass and little palm trees.
Anxious-looking individuals gathered nearby in a gazebo, waiting for news mainly in quiet. One woman’s sobbing could be heard. According to police spokeswoman Paisal, the assailant was already anxious when he couldn’t find his child, which caused him to become even more stressed and begin shooting. He then drove home, where he killed his wife and child before killing himself, Paisal said to Thai PBS.
Thailand has severe gun restrictions, and anybody found in possession of an illicit handgun faces up to 10 years in jail. In contrast to several other Southeast Asian countries, ownership is significant. Weapons are routinely brought in illegally from adjacent, violent countries.
Mass shootings are uncommon, though. In a four-location shooting spree in 2020, a soldier enraged over a property transaction gone bad murdered at least 29 individuals and injured 57 more.