36 killed in Thailand after gunman attacks child care center
By Sui-Lee Wee
A former police officer armed with a handgun and knife attacked a child care facility in northeastern Thailand on Thursday, killing more than 30 people, most of them children, in the deadliest mass shooting in the Southeast Asian nation ever carried out by a lone perpetrator.
The attacker then shot and killed himself, his wife and their 4-year-old child, according to officials. In all, the gunman killed 36 people, including 24 children, a provincial health official said late Thursday, revising the death toll down by one. Here is the latest:
— Witnesses described a scene of terror inside the Child Development Center Uthaisawan, as the attacker shot and stabbed more than 20 children, some as young as 2, and fatally stabbed a teacher who was eight months pregnant.
— The gunman was identified as Panya Kamrab, 34, a former corporal who was fired from the police force in June after being arrested for drug possession, according to the Royal Thai Police. After attacking the child care facility, he shot at people as he drove away, said Major Gen. Paisan Leusomboon, a regional police spokesperson.
— Thailand, a majority Buddhist country of about 69 million, has some of Asia’s highest rates of gun ownership and gun homicide, although the levels are far lower than those in the United States. The toll in Thursday’s massacre surpassed that of an attack in 2020, when a soldier armed with an semi-automatic rifle killed at least 29 people at a Thai shopping mall.
— The attack occurred in rural Nong Bua Lamphu province, one of the poorest pockets of Thailand, where life revolves around agriculture and is governed by the harsh annual fluctuation between drought and floods.