Dozens of people are killed in a shooting at a daycare center in Thailand
LEILA FADEL, HOST:
Police in Thailand say more than 30 people have been killed in a shooting at a day care center in the northeast of the country. NPR's Michael Sullivan reports.
MICHAEL SULLIVAN, BYLINE: Details of the tragic event remain sketchy, but police say that the majority of the victims were children. Authorities say the man who carried out the attack was a former police officer who burst into the day care center in Nongbua Lamphu in the early afternoon and began firing. Police say witnesses described the man as using a knife as well as a gun during the attack. Thirty-four-year-old Panya Kamrab then drove home, where he murdered his wife and child before killing himself. He'd been dismissed from the police force last year for drug-related offenses.
Photos and videos posted on social media showed family members waiting anxiously outside, many crying, as the authorities began the grim task of identifying the victims and securing the crime scene. A district official told the Reuters news agency that roughly 30 children were at the day care center when the assailant arrived - fewer than usual because heavy rain had kept many away. Thailand's prime minister, Prayut Chan-o-cha, expressed his condolences to the bereaved and injured families in a Facebook post.
Mass shootings are rare in Thailand, but the rate of gun ownership in the country is higher than in many other countries in the region, augmented by large numbers of illegal weapons smuggled in across porous borders. The last mass shooting here occurred in 2020 when a soldier, angry over a property deal that went bad, killed more than two dozen people at an army base and later a mall in the northeast city of Nakhon Ratchasima.
Michael Sullivan, NPR News, Krabi Province, Thailand.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.