Today (Oct. 6), a shooting in northeastern Thailand has been reported as the deadliest massacre in the country’s history. At least 35 individuals were killed, with 23 believed to be children, according to CNN.
A statement from the prime minister’s office revealed the tragedy took place at the Child Development Center in Nong Bua Lamphu province’s Uthai Sawan Na Klang district in Thailand. The country’s Central Investigation Bureau (CIB) identified the shooter as 34-year-old former policeman Panya Kamrab.
Authorities confirmed Kamrab took his own life after killing his wife and stepson. Officials have not shared if their deaths were counted in today’s casualties. Maj. Gen. Jirapob Puridet of the CIB said the gunman began “opening fire while the kids were sleeping” in the Thailand preschool. Kamrab’s 2-year-old stepson was a student at the daycare but was not in attendance at the time of the massacre.
An ex-police officer in Thailand killed at least 22 children and 12 adults at a day care center. It is the deadliest mass shooting in Thailand's history.
The gunman also stabbed children and a pregnant teacher, say officials, then fatally shot his wife, son and himself. pic.twitter.com/PBhS4Nv4pf
— AJ+ (@ajplus) October 6, 2022
Thailand police spokesperson Maj. General Paisan Luesomboon said the shooter “went to look for his 2-year-old son, but the boy was not there … so he started shooting as well as stabbing people at the nursery.” Just hours before the fatal attack, Kamrab had a court appearance in Nong Bua Lamphu province in relation to drug charges. He was recently fired as a police officer after being “charged with selling narcotics.”
Sources say the daycare is located around 335 miles northeast of Bangkok. The typically peaceful area has never seen such a violent attack. UNICEF released a statement expressing their grief regarding the Thailand tragedy. “No child should be a target or witness of violence anywhere, anytime,” they said in part. The organization added, “Early childhood development centers, schools and all learning spaces must be safe havens for young children to learn, play and grow during their most critical years.”
One witness who spoke with Thailand’s Kom Chad Luek television station described the massacre, saying a “teacher who died had a child in her arms.” During the attack, Kamrab reportedly used multiple weapons including a handgun, a shotgun and a knife. Local Police Chief Damrongsak Kittiprapha told reporters, “We are still investigating all of this and have to learn from it. Today is the first day and we don’t have all the details.”