06 October 2022

At least 24 children among 35 dead after attack by ex police officer at Thailand childcare centre

06 October 2022

A former police officer killed at least 24 children and 11 adults in a gun and knife attack that began at a childcare centre in Thailand on Thursday, authorities said.

The assailant fled the first scene, shooting from his car as he drove home, where he killed his wife and child and taking his own life.

Photos and videos of the daycare centre posted online showed the floor of one room smeared with blood and sleeping mats scattered about. Alphabet pictures and other colourful decorations adorned the walls.

In videos from the scene in the town of Nongbua Lamphu, frantic family members could be heard weeping outside the building. Ambulances stood by as police and medical workers walked around.

Authorities identified the assailant as a former police officer and said he entered the childcare centre in the early afternoon.

Twenty-two children and two adults were killed in the building before the assailant fled, according to a police statement. But he continued to shoot people from his car, police Major General Paisal Luesomboon told the Associated Press.

After arriving home, he killed his wife and child and then himself, police said.

Officers said he killed another two children and nine adults outside the childcare centre.

Firearms-related deaths in Thailand are much lower than in countries like the United States and Brazil, but higher than in countries like Japan and Singapore that have strict gun control laws.

The rate of firearms-related deaths in 2019 was about four per 100,000, compared with about 11 per 100,000 in the US and nearly 23 per 100,000 in Brazil.

Last month, a clerk shot co-workers at Thailand’s Army War College in Bangkok, killing two and wounding another before he was arrested.

The country’s previous worst mass shooting involved a disgruntled soldier who opened fire in and around a mall in the north-eastern city of Nakhon Ratchasima in 2020, killing 29 people and holding off security forces for some 16 hours before eventually being killed by them.

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