October 8, 2022

THAILAND: Former Police Officer Fired In June Went To A Local Daycare With Automatic Weapon, Knife And Murdered 38 People Mostly Children. Then Drove Home Murdered Wife, Son And Himself.

Sky News Australia published October 6, 2022: At least 37 killed in Thailand mass shooting. At least 37 people including 22 children have been killed in a mass shooting at a day care in Northern Thailand.
Sky News Australia published October 7, 2022: Devastated families mourn victims of pre-school attack in Thailand. Devastated families are mourning the loss of loved ones - caused by a merciless pre-school attack in Thailand.

Bloomberg News
written by Patpicha Tanakasempipat and Pathom Sangwongwanich
Thursday October 6, 2022

A mass shooting that began with a daycare center in northeastern Thailand left 38 people dead, the majority of them children, according to officials.

A 34-year-old former cop used an automatic weapon to fire at the center located in Nong Bua Lamphu province near Thailand’s border with Laos on Thursday afternoon, killing 24 children, Jackrapat Wijitwaitaya, a local police official, said by phone.

After fleeing the scene, the assailant shot dead more people as he drove back to his house, where he killed his wife and child before taking his own life, Jackrapat said. The attack also left 10 injured, six of them seriously, according to Surachate Hakparn, deputy chief of the Royal Thai Police.

The motive behind the crime was unclear but the shooter, identified as Panya Kamrab, was believed to be under the influence of drugs, Jackrapat said.

National police chief Damrongsak Kittiprapas, who flew to the site of the attack, said the shooter was fired from service after being arrested for possession of drugs.

The assailant was set for a court appearance on Friday in the drug case that led to his dismissal, Damrongsak said.

Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-Ocha ordered a probe into the “horrifying” crime and the police to fast-track the investigation. Authorities ordered the closure of all daycare centers in the area.

While mass shootings are not very common in Thailand, a soldier shot dead two of his colleagues at a military facility in Bangkok last month. Twenty-nine people were killed during a mass shooting in Nakhon Ratchasima in Thailand’s northeast in 2020.
FOX 11 Los Angeles published October 6, 2022: Thailand Mass Shooting: At least 35 killed in daycare center. The gunman, identified as a former police officer, entered the childcare center in the town of Nongbua Lamphu, authorities said.

Fox11 News, Los Angeles local
written by Tassanee Vejpongsa and David Rising
Thursday October 6, 2022

UTHAI SAWAN, Thailand - A former police officer facing a drug charge burst into a day care center Thursday in Thailand, killing dozens of preschoolers and teachers and then shooting more people as he fled. At least 36 people were slain in the deadliest rampage in the nation’s history.

The assailant, who was fired earlier this year, took his own life after killing his wife and child at home.

Photos taken by first responders showed the school's floor littered with the tiny bodies of children still on their blankets, where they had been taking an afternoon nap. The images showed slashes to their faces and gunshots to their heads and pools of blood.

A teacher told public broadcaster Thai PBS that the assailant got out of a car and immediately shot a man eating lunch outside, then fired more shots. When the attacker paused to reload, the teacher had an opportunity to run inside.

"I ran to the back, the children were asleep," said the young woman, who did not give her name, choking back her words. "The children were two or three years old."

Another witness said staff at the day care center had locked the door, but the gunman shot his way in.

"The teacher who died, she had a child in her arms," the witness, whose name wasn’t given, told Thailand’s Kom Chad Luek television. "I didn’t think he would kill children, but he shot at the door and shot right through it."

At least 10 people were wounded, including six critically, police spokesman Archayon Kraithong said.

The attack took place in the rural town of Uthai Sawan in Thailand’s northeastern province of Nongbua Lamphu, one of the country’s poorest regions.

A video taken by a first responder arriving at the scene showed rescuers rushing into the single-story building past a shattered glass front door, with drops of blood visible on the ground in the entryway.

In footage posted online after the attack, frantic family members could be heard weeping outside the building. One image showed the floor smeared with blood where sleeping mats were scattered around the room. Pictures of the alphabet and other colorful decorations adorned the walls.

Police identified the attacker as 34-year-old former police officer Panya Kamrap. Police Maj. Gen. Paisal Luesomboon told PPTV in an interview that he was fired from the force earlier this year because of the drug charge.

In a Facebook posting, Thai police chief Gen. Dumrongsak Kittiprapas said the man, who had been a sergeant, was due in court Friday for a hearing in the case involving methamphetamine, and speculated that he may have chosen the day care center because it was close to his home.

Earlier, Dumrongsak told reporters that the main weapon used was a 9mm pistol that the man had purchased himself. Paisal said he also had a shotgun and a knife.

Thailand Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, who planned to travel to the scene on Friday, told reporters that initial reports were that the former officer was having personal problems.

"This shouldn’t happen," he said. "I feel deep sadness toward the victims and their relatives."

Police have not given a full breakdown of the death toll, but they have said at least 22 children and two adults were killed at the day care. At least two more children were killed elsewhere.

Some family members of those killed in the attack were still at the scene of the rampage late into the evening. Mental health workers sat with them, trying to bring comfort, according to Thai TBS television.

Firearm-related deaths in Thailand are much lower than in countries such as the United States and Brazil, but higher than in Japan and Singapore, which have strict gun-control laws. The rate of firearms related deaths in 2019 was about 4 per 100,000, compared with about 11 per 100,000 in the U.S. and nearly 23 per 100,000 in Brazil.

Mass shootings are rare but not unheard of in Thailand, which has one of the highest civilian gun ownership rates in Asia, with 15.1 weapons per 100 population compared to only 0.3 in Singapore and 0.25 in Japan. That’s still far lower than the U.S. rate of 120.5 per 100 people, according to a 2017 survey by Australia’s GunPolicy.org nonprofit organization.

The country's previous worst mass shooting involved a disgruntled soldier who opened fire in and around a mall in the northeastern city of Nakhon Ratchasima in 2020, killing 29 people and holding off security forces for some 16 hours before eventually being killed by them.

Nearly 60 others were wounded in that attack. Its death toll surpassed that of the previously worst attack on civilians, a 2015 bombing at a shrine in Bangkok that killed 20 people. It was allegedly carried out by human traffickers in retaliation for a crackdown on their network.

Last month, a clerk shot co-workers at Thailand’s Army War College in Bangkok, killing two and wounding another before he was arrested.

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