More than 30 people, most of whom were kids, were killed in a gun and knife attack at a children’s center in northeast Thailand on Thursday, local police said.
A total of 36 people, including 24 children, were among the victims of the massacre in the town of Uthai Sawan in the country’s Nong Bua Lamphu Province. At least 12 others were injured in the incident, according to police.
The man who shot and stabbed people inside the facility fled the scene and went to his home, where he murdered his family before committing suicide.
Thai law enforcement have identified the perpetrator as a former police officer who was recently released from service.
Local media reported that the man had been sacked from the force due to drug problems and may have been under the influence at the time of the attack.
The gunman made his way into the children’s center around 12.30pm during nap time, according to the authorities.
He first shot four or five staff members, including a teacher who was eight months pregnant, before attacking the children, district official Jidapa Boonsom told Reuters.
“At first people thought it was fireworks,” Boonsom added. The victims of the massacre were as young as two, according to the media.
Thailand has a rather high rate of gun ownership, but mass shootings are rare in the country.
The last such incident occurred in 2020 when a soldier, who was angry about a property deal, killed at least 29 people and wounded 57 others in a rampage across four locations.