A gun and knife attack at a children’s day-care center in Thailand has left at least 31 people dead, including children and adults, according to police.
The incident took place on Thursday at the Child Development Center in Uthaisawan Na Klang district, Nong Bua Lamphu province.
The shooter, who was an ex-police officer, killed his wife and child and himself after the rampage at the facility.
The fatalities included 22 children among 34 killed overall. Also, 12 other people were injured.
“The shooter came in around lunch time and shot four or five officials at the childcare center first,” district official Jidapa Boonsom, who was working in a nearby office at the time, told Reuters.
“At first people thought it was fireworks,” she said. The gunman then managed to go into a locked room where he used a knife to attack children who were sleeping there, Jidapa said.
The attacker had been discharged from the police service last year for drug-related reasons. He had attended a court hearing on a drugs charge prior to the incident and was agitated when he arrived at the day-care facility.
After the attack, the man went home and killed himself and his wife and child, Police colonel Jakkapat Vijitraithaya said.
The incident comes less than a month after a serving army officer fatally shot two colleagues at a military training base in the capital Bangkok.
The rate of gun ownership in Thailand is high in comparison to other regional countries, however, official figures exclude huge numbers of illegal weapons, most of which have been brought in across porous borders from its neighbors over the years.
Although mass shootings are rare, in 2020, a soldier livid over a property deal shot dead at least 29 people and wounded 57 in four different locations.