Thailand’s Kindergarten Shooting Leaves at Least 22 Children Dead

On Thursday, a gunman opened fire at a Thai children’s kindergarten, killing at least 36 people. Among the dead were 22 children and two teachers.

The mass shooting happened around 12:30 p.m. local time in northeast Thailand’s rural Nong Bua Lamphu province, the Royal Thai Police (RTP) said in a Facebook post.

NBC News said that the office of Police General Surachete Hakparnwhich said that about 12 other people were hurt. NBC also said that eight of these are serious.

The RTP said that the suspect was a former police officer named Panya Khamrab, who is 34 years old. A police spokesman told reporters that he had been fired from the police force in 2021 because he used drugs and that he had been in court for drug charges before the attack. The BBC said this information came from a police spokesman.

According to Thailand’s public broadcaster, Kamrab had a shotgun, a pistol, and a knife. Police told Reuters on Thursday that he also killed his wife and child before shooting himself.

“The shooter came in around lunchtime and shot four or five officials at the childcare centre first,” a District official named Jidapa Boonsom told sources. He also said that one of the victims was a teacher who was 8 months pregnant.

“At first people thought it was fireworks,” Lamphu continued. She added that around 30 children were at the kindergarten when the gunman arrived.

According to some sources, the youngest person who died was only 2 years old. The BBC says that the gunman started shooting when he got to the kindergarten and couldn’t find his child. A person who saw what happened told Reuters that the suspect got into a locked room where children were sleeping and started shooting.

Police spokesman Paisan Luesomboon told that as he ran away, he drove his car into a crowd of people and shot from the driver’s window. He went back to his house to kill his wife and son.

“He intended to crash into others on the road,” eyewitness Paweena Purichan, 31, told the AFP news agency. “The attacker rammed a motorbike and two people were injured. I sped off to get away from him.”

Purichan told the news source that the shooter was a well-known drug user. Even though there are a lot of guns in Thailand, there aren’t many mass shootings. Its last major event happened in 2020, when a soldier killed 29 people and hurt 57 others because of a bad real estate deal.

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