24 children murdered during childcare center massacre

Thailand massacre: ex-cop kills 24 children in knife and gun rampage – Reuters

At least 36 people, including 24 children, were killed Thursday in a massacre at a child care center in northeastern Thailand, believed to be the country’s deadliest event of its kind.

Authorities immediately launched a manhunt for the suspect, later identified by Thailand’s Central Investigation Bureau (CIB) as Panya Kamrab, a 34-year-old former police officer. He was suspended from police duty earlier this year due to charges relating to drug possession, according to the Thai Royal Police.

Kamrab’s wife and stepson are among the dozens of victims, whom investigators allege he killed before taking his own life.

According to a local police chief, his 2-year-old stepson was enrolled at the nursery that he attacked on Thursday, but was not present at the time of the attack.

“(Kamrab) went looking for his two-year-old son, but the boy was not there… he then shot and stabbed people at the nursery,” police spokesperson Maj. General Paisan Luesomboon stated.

He then entered a room where 24 children were sleeping together, killing all but one of them.

“ Additionally, he stabbed both children and staff at the center with a knife,” Luesomboon explained.

Eyewitness account

A teacher at the center described a horrific scene to local media, explaining that the attacker entered the center around noon, while two other staff members were enjoying lunch.

I suddenly heard what sounded like fire crackers. As I looked back at the two staffs, they had collapsed on the floor,” the teacher explained.

“Then he pulled another gun from his waist. I didn’t expect him to also kill the kids,” they said.

Additionally, the teacher reported that the attacker also carried a second gun, as well as a knife, which he used to fatally stab another teacher, who was eight months pregnant.

An eyewitness told Reuters that she believed the attacker was going to pick up his child. He arrived at the center “without saying anything” and “shot at the door while the children were sleeping,” she said.

Luesomboon told reporters that the majority of the deaths were caused by stabbing wounds.

Additionally, a teacher told Reuters that the attacker mainly used a knife.

“Everything happened very quickly. He slashed the knife, he did not use the gun, he simply kept slashing. “It was all done with a knife,” she explained.

General Damrongsak Kittiprapas stated that the attacker “mainly used a knife” to kill the children.

“Then he got out and began to kill anyone he came across with a gun or knife until he reached his residence,” Kittiprapas said. “We surrounded his house and found that he had committed suicide there.”

According to a statement from the Prime Minister, the massacre took place at the Child Development Center in Nong Bua Lamphu province’s Uthaisawan Na Klang district. The Prime Minister called the incident “shocking” and expressed his condolences to the families of those killed.

It is located approximately 540 kilometers (around 335 miles) northeast of Bangkok, and is known as a peaceful and quiet province.

According to a statement from his office, Chan-ocha will travel to the province on Friday to meet with the families of the victims.

‘No child should be the target of violence’

In his ongoing case of alleged possession of methamphetamine, Kamrab was scheduled to receive a verdict on October 7, according to the Thai Royal Police.

The police also reported finding a tablet of Yaba in his residence during an earlier undated search. Yaba is a combination of methamphetamine and caffeine, which is usually crushed and smoked. Locally, yaba is referred to as “crazy medicine.”

His suspension from police duty in January was the result of charges of possessing a “Category 1” drug.

Compared to other Southeast Asian countries, Thailand has a relatively high gun ownership rate.

The Swiss-based Small Arms Survey (SAS) reported that more than 10.3 million civilians own firearms in Thailand, which equates to approximately 15 firearms for every 100 citizens. SAS estimates that approximately 6.2 million of these guns are legally registered.

It has been reported that Thailand ranks as the country with the second-highest gun homicide rate in Southeast Asia, after the Philippines, according to a study conducted by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington.

UNICEF issued a statement saying it is “shocked” by the tragedy and offers its condolences to the affected families.

It condemned the attack, saying: “No child should be a target or witness of violence anywhere, anytime,” and stating, “Early childhood development centers, schools and all learning spaces must provide a safe haven for young kids to grow, play, and learn.”

Prime Minister Liz Truss tweeted that she was “shocked” to hear about the horrific events, and that her “thoughts are with all those affected and first responders.”

“The UK stands with the Thai people in this terrible time,” she said.

For more coverage on this story, check the following additional news sources:

  1. Thailand massacre: ex-cop kills 24 children in knife and gun rampage  Reuters
  2. LIVE: Authorities gather outside the scene of a knife attack and mass shooting in Thailand  Reuters
  3. Children among at least 36 people killed in child care center massacre in Thailand  CNN
  4. 35 killed in attack beginning at Thailand childcare center  KENS 5: Your San Antonio News Source
  5. Thailand mass shooting: More than 30 killed at day care center, including children  Fox News