Bangkok, 6 October 2022 (dpa/MIA) – A former police officer shot and killed 37 people, at least 24 of them children, after bursting into a child day care centre in north-eastern Thailand on Thursday, police reports said.
Deputy police chief Torsak Sukwimol initially put the number of dead at 34, while a later police report put the death toll at 37 in the shooting in the Na Klang district of Nong Bua Lamphu Province close to the border with Laos.
A pregnant daycare worker was among the victims, according to reports.
The assailant, armed with guns and knives, then fled the scene in a white pickup truck. He is reported by Thai media to have killed himself, along with his wife and child.
Twelve people were injured and the local hospital called for blood donations, according to a report in the Khaosod newspaper.
In a statement, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-Cha spoke of a “shocking incident” and said: “I have instructed the national police chief to travel to the region to expedite legal action and I have asked everyone involved to support everyone concerned to help urgently.”
The prime minister said he wanted to travel to the scene of the violence on Friday.
Citing the authorities, the Bangkok Post reported that the man had forced entry to the day care centre and immediately opened fire.
The motive for the killings was unclear. Khaosod reported that relatives of the victims were distraught. It said the suspect had lost his position with the police on account of drug offences.
Mass killings ar rare in largely Buddhist Thailand. In February 2020, a soldier killed 29 people after taking them hostage in a shopping centre in Nakhon Ratchasima in the north-east of the country. He was shot and killed by security forces.