At least 36 children have been killed in a massacre at a children’s center in Thailand

36 children killed in Thailand children’s center massacre: A gunman opened fire on a children’s center in northeastern Thailand on Thursday, killing at least 24 children and another 36 adults.

Thailand’s Central Bureau of Investigation (CIB) later identified the suspect as 34-year-old former police officer Panya Kamrab, who was already the subject of an ongoing lawsuit over alleged drug sales, prompting an immediate manhunt.

After killing his wife and stepson, he took his own life, according to investigators. There are no known casualties among the attacker’s family. According to Major General Jirapob Puridet from CIB, “opening fire while the children were sleeping” happened hours after the suspect was in court in Nong Bua Lamphu province.

According to Puridet’s interview with CNN last year, the former officer was fired after being “accused of drug distribution.” Authorities said his 2-year-old stepson was at the center he attacked Thursday, but was not there at the time of the violence.

The shooter “He went looking for his two-year-old, but the boy was gone… So he started shooting and stabbing people in the nursery,” Major General Paisan Luesomboon, a police spokesman, told CNN.

The next morning, Kamran “managed to get into a room where 24 youths were sleeping together” and slaughtered all but one of them. According to Luesomboon, “he also used a knife to attack children and workers at the centre.”

One of the teachers at the center spoke to local media about the horrific events that took place there, saying the attacker entered the building at noon when two other staff members were having lunch.

36 children are killed in a massacre at a children's center in Thailand
36 children are killed in a massacre at a children’s center in Thailand

I thought I suddenly heard something like fireworks. When the instructor turned around, he saw the two officers lying on the ground. Another teacher, eight months pregnant, was fatally stabbed by the perpetrator, who had two guns and a knife, according to the witness.

This is what Luesomboon said in his interview with CNN “stab wounds” account for the majority of deaths. Earlier on Thursday, a statement released by Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-o-cha’s office described the incident as a mass shooting.

The Prime Minister issued a statement expressing his sympathies to the families of the victims and confirming that the atrocity took place on Child Development Center in Uthaisawan Na Klang District of Nong Bua Lamphu Province. The province is about 540 kilometers (335 miles) northeast of Bangkok and is a relatively peaceful and pleasant place to live.

More than 10.3 million firearms were in private hands in Thailand in 2017, according to the Small Arms Survey out of Switzerland. That makes almost 15 firearms for every 100 people (SAS). According to the SAS, approximately 6.2 million of these firearms have valid registrations.

According to the 2019 Global Burden of Disease database created by Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington, Thailand has the second highest firearm homicide rate in Southeast Asia, behind only the Philippines.

Although mass shootings are uncommon in the country, in 2020 a soldier killed 29 people in a shooting that began at a military installation and ended when the gunman stormed a shopping mall.

UNICEF published a statement expressing its “horror” and condolences to the families of the victims. It condemned the incident and said: “No child should be the target or witness of violence anywhere, anytime” and this “Early childhood development centers, schools and all learning spaces must be safe havens for young children to learn, play and grow during their most important years.”

British Prime Minister Liz Truss expressed her surprise at “horrific events” and her support for victims and first responders in a tweet.

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