BANGKOK (AP) — A former police officer killed at least 24 children and 11 adults in a gun and knife attack that began at a child care center in Thailand on Thursday, authorities said. The assailant fled the first scene, shooting from his car as he drove home, before killing his wife and child and taking his own life.
Photos and videos posted online of the day care showed the floor of one room was smeared with blood and sleeping mats scattered about. Alphabet pictures and other colorful decorations adorned the walls.
In videos from the scene, frantic family members could be heard weeping outside the building. Ambulances stood by as police and medical workers walked around.
Authorities identified the assailant as a former police officer and said he entered the child care center after noon in the northeastern Thai town of Nongbua Lamphu.
Twenty-two children and two adults were killed in the building before the assailant fled, according to a police statement. But he continued to shoot people from his car, police Maj. Gen. Paisal Luesomboon told The Associated Press.
After arriving home, he killed his wife and child and then himself, police said.
Police said he killed another two children and nine adults outside the child care center, including his wife and his son.
Firearm-related deaths in Thailand are much lower than in countries like the United States and Brazil, but higher than in countries like Japan and Singapore that 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.
Last month, a clerk shot co-workers at Thailand’s Army War College in Bangkok, killing two and wounding another before he was arrested.
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.
Associated Press writers David Rising, Chalida Ekvitthayavechnukul, Elaine Kurtenbach and Grant Peck contributed to this story.