In a ghastly incident, thirty-four people were killed including 22 children, in Thailand on Thursday in a mass shooting at a day-care centre. The shooter, a former policeman, also killed his wife and child before shooting himself dead, police said.
The suspected gunman had been discharged from the service for drug-related reasons. About 30 children were at the centre when the gunman came in around lunchtime, district official Jidapa Boonsom told Reuters. He cited witnesses as saying the gunman was also seen wielding a knife.
About 30 children were at the centre when the gunman arrived, fewer than usual, as heavy rain had kept many people away, Boonsom said, who was working in a nearby office at the time.
The man first shot four or five staff, including a teacher who was eight months pregnant, Jidapa said. “At first people thought it was fireworks,” she added. The gunman then forced his way into a locked room where children were sleeping, Jidapa said, to kill children there with a knife.
Videos posted on social media showed sheets covering what appeared to be the bodies of children lying in pools of blood at the centre in the town of Uthai Sawan in the northeastern province of Nong Bua Lamphu. Reuters could not immediately authenticate the footage.
Mass shootings are rare in Thailand, even though the rate of gun ownership is high compared with some other countries in the region, and illegal weapons are common.