Bangkok: Thirty-eight people were killed in Thailand on Thursday in a gun and knife attack at a daycare centre by a former policeman who killed his wife and child before turning his weapon on himself, police said.
There were 22 children among the victims of the suspected attacker, identified as Panya Khamrab, who had been discharged from the service last year for drug-related reasons, district police official Chakkraphat Wichitvaidya told media.
Police said Panya had been in court on drugs charges before carrying out the attack. They cited witnesses as saying the gunman was also seen wielding a knife.
About 30 children were at the centre when the gunman arrived, fewer than usual, as heavy rain had kept many people away, district official Jidapa Boonsom, who was working in a nearby office at the time, told Reuters.
“The shooter came in around lunchtime and shot four or five officials at the childcare centre first,” said Jidapa, adding that among them was a teacher who was eight months pregnant.
“At first people thought it was fireworks,” she said.
The gunman then forced his way into a locked room where children were sleeping, Jidapa said, to kill children there with a knife.
Videos posted on social media showed sheets covering what appeared to be the bodies of children lying in pools of blood at the centre in the town of Uthai Sawan, 500km northeast of Bangkok in the province of Nong Bua Lamphu.