BANGKOK: At least 36 people, most of them children, were killed by an ex-policeman at a preschool daycare center in Thailand’s northeast on Thursday, police and hospital officials said.
The attack took place in the Na Klang area of Nong Bua Lamphu province in the early afternoon.
Authorities at Nong Bua Lamphu Hospital said 24 of those killed were children. A further 12 people were injured in the attack.
Police identified the killer as 34-year-old Panya Kamrab, a former police sergeant who was dismissed from service in January. According to a police report seen by Arab News, he was sacked after being found in possession of narcotics.
Panya is thought to have gone to the daycare center to find his son but when he failed to find the boy he began shooting. He then returned home, where he killed his wife and child.
“He (Panya) was already stressed after going to court to hear the case against him for narcotics possession. When he didn’t see his child, he carried out the attack with a gun and a knife,” local police spokesperson Paisan Luesomboon said.
“He left the children’s development center for his home, which is around 2 kilometers away. He collided with people on the road and also fired at them. He returned home and saw his wife and kid. He then shot them before killing himself.”
Video footage and images shared on social media showed the distraught relatives of the victims standing beside ambulances outside the daycare facility as police and rescuers dealt with the aftermath of the attack.
Another image showed the body of a woman lying beside a motorcycle on a roadside.
It was not immediately clear if the death toll included the killer and his family or the people attacked on the road.
Nong Bua Lamphu is a province in northeastern Thailand, about 500 km from Bangkok.