Thailand massacre: ex-cop kills 24 children in knife and gun rampage: Didn’t think he’d kill children, but…Mass killings massacre shocked Thailand. The school’s floor was littered with the tiny bodies of children still on their blankets, where they had been taking an afternoon nap.
Rescue workers carry coffins containing the bodies of victims at Udon Thani hospital in Udon Thani province, following a mass shooting in the town of Uthai Sawan, Thailand, October 7, 2022. REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha
What Thailand Prime minister told reports
Thailand Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-Ocha, who planned to travel to the scene on Friday, told reporters that initial reports were that the former officer was having personal problems.
“This shouldn’t happen,” he said. “I feel deep sadness toward the victims and their relatives.”
Thailand massacre Thailand massacre Thailand massacre Thailand massacre Thailand massacre
Didn’t think he’d kill children
The attack took place in the rural town of Uthai Sawan in Thailand’s northeastern province of Nong Bua Lamphu, one of the country’s poorest regions.
Another witness said staff at the daycare center had locked the door, but the suspect shot his way in.
“The teacher who died, she had a child in her arms,” the witness, whose name wasn’t given, told Thailand’s Kom Chad Luek television. “I didn’t think he would kill children, but he shot at the door and shot right through it.”
Firearm-related deaths in Thailand
Firearm-related deaths in Thailand are much lower than in countries such as the United States and Brazil, but higher than in Japan and Singapore, which have strict gun-control laws. The rate of firearms related deaths in 2019 was about 4 per 100,000, compared with about 11 per 100,000 in the U.S. and nearly 23 per 100,000 in Brazil.
Mass shootings are rare but not unheard of in Thailand, which has one of the highest civilian gun ownership rates in Asia, with 15.1 weapons per 100 population compared to only 0.3 in Singapore and 0.25 in Japan. That’s still far lower than the U.S. rate of 120.5 per 100 people, according to a 2017 survey by Australia’s GunPolicy.org nonprofit organization.
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.
At least 10 people were wounded, including six critically, police spokesman Archayon Kraithong said.
Thailand recoiled in horror Thursday after at least 36 people were killed, at least 24 of them children, in a massacre at a child care center in northeastern Thailand believed to be the country’s deadliest incident of its kind.
Authorities immediately launched a manhunt for the suspected attacker, later identified by Thailand’s Central Investigation Bureau (CIB) as Panya Kamrab, a 34-year-old former policeman. According to Thai Royal Police, he was suspended from police duty earlier this year relation to drug possession charges.
Among the dozens of victims are Panya’s wife and stepson, whom investigators say he killed before taking his own life.
His 2-year-old stepson was enrolled at the nursery that he attacked Thursday, but was not present while the attack was carried out, according to a local police chief.
“(Panya) went to look for his two-year-old son, but the boy was not there … so he started shooting as well as stabbing people at the nursery,” police spokesperson Maj. General Paisan Luesomboon told .
Panya then “managed to get into a room where 24 kids were sleeping together,” killing all but one of them.
Thailand Massacre: Mass killings shock Thailand
One of the center’s teachers described a horrific scene to local media, explaining that the attacker entered the center around noon, while two other staff members were having lunch.
“I suddenly heard the sound just sounded like firecrackers. So I looked back [and] the two staffs just collapsed on the floor,” the teacher said.
“Then he pulled another gun from his waist…I didn’t expect he would also kill the kids,” they said.
The teacher also said that the attacker was also carrying a second gun, as well as a knife, which he used to fatally stab another teacher, who was eight months pregnant.
One eyewitness told Reuters she believed the attacker was coming to pick up his child. When he arrived to the center, he “didn’t say anything,” and “shot at the door while the children were sleeping,” she said.
Thailand Massacre: Mass killings shock Thailand
Most of the deaths were the result of “stabbing wounds,” Paisan told.
A teacher also told Reuters that the attacker had mainly used a knife.
“It all went down really fast. He was slashing the knife, he didn’t use the gun, he kept slashing in there. It’s all by a knife,” she said.
Police General Damrongsak Kittiprapas said that the attacker “mainly used a knife” to kill the children.
“Then he got out and started killing anyone he met along the way with a gun or the knife until he got home,” said Damrongsak. “We surrounded the house and then found that he committed suicide in his home.”
Thailand Massacre : Mass killings shock Thailand