A former police officer armed with a gun and a knife stormed a nursery in northeast Thailand on October 6, shooting dead at least 30 people, including children, before killing himself and his family, police said.
“The attacker, armed with a shotgun, a pistol and a knife, opened fire on the childcare center in Nong Bua Lam Phu Province at about 12.30 pm [0530 GMT] before fleeing the scene in a vehicle,” the force said.
“The death toll from the shooting incident… is at least 30 people,” Anucha Burapachaisri, a spokesperson for the Thai Prime Minister’s office, said.
People gather outside the site of an attack at a daycare center in the town of Nongbua Lamphu, north eastern Thailand on October 6, 2022. Videograb: TPBS/AP
Police Colonel Jakkapat Vijitraithaya, from the Province where the attack happened, identified the gunman as Panya Khamrab, a police lieutenant colonel he said was dismissed from the force last year for drug use. Col. Vijitraithaya said there were 23 children among the dead, aged between two and three years old.
The perpetrator behind the gun and knife attack had attended a court hearing on a drug charge prior to opening fire at the daycare center, police said on October 6.
The attacker was agitated when he arrived at the daycare facility to find his child was not there and left, then shot at bystanders and drove his vehicle at them, Paisan Luesomboon, a police spokesperson, told ThaiPBS television, adding that the attacker drove home, and killed his wife and child.
This handout from the Facebook page of Thailand’s Central Investigation Bureau shows a picture of former policeman Panya Khamrab, who is believed to have killed at least 30 people in a nursery in the northern Thai Province of Nong Bua Lam Phu. | Photo Credit: AFP
The mass killing comes less than a month after a serving Army officer shot dead two colleagues at a military training base in the capital Bangkok. While Thailand has high rates of gun ownership, mass shootings are extremely rare.
But in the past year, there have been at least two other cases of shooting murders by serving soldiers, according to the Bangkok Post.
And in 2020, in one of the kingdom’s deadliest incidents in recent years, a soldier gunned down 29 people in a 17-hour rampage and wounded scores more before he was shot dead by commandos.
(With inputs from Reuters )