37 killed in an attack that began in a Thai kindergarten

At least 24 children and 11 adults were killed Thursday in an attack that began at a childcare centre in northeastern Thailand, authorities said. The gunman then fled the scene, shooting from his car as he drove home, where he killed his wife and child before taking his own life, police said.

The initial attack came at about 12:30 pm (local time), when the man, identified as a former police officer, entered the childcare centre in the town of Nongbua Lamphu, authorities said.

According to a police statement, the assailant killed 19 boys, three girls, and two adults before fleeing the building.

Photos and videos of the scene circulated online, showing sleeping mats strewn across a blood-splattered floor, alphabet pictures, and other colourful wall decorations.

Wails were captured on video as frantic family members wept and watched outside the nursery school building. As police and medical personnel entered the schoolyard, ambulances stood by.

According to Thai media reports, the gunman also used knives in the attack.

37 Dead at Thailand Child Care Centre

After the suspect fled, he continued to shoot from his car, hitting several people, police Maj. Gen. Paisal Luesomboon said.

After arriving home, he killed his wife and child before killing himself, according to the Daily News newspaper.

Police said a total of two children and 10 adults died outside the childcare centre, including the suspect, his wife and his son.

Firearm-related deaths in Thailand are much lower than in countries such as the United States and Brazil, but higher than in countries with strict gun control laws such as Japan and Singapore. In 2019, the rate of firearm-related deaths was approximately 4 per 100,000, compared to approximately 11 per 100,000 in the United States and nearly 23 per 100,000 in Brazil.

Last month, a clerk at Thailand’s Army War College in Bangkok opened fire on coworkers, killing two and injuring another before being apprehended.

The previous worst mass shooting in the country occurred in 2020, when a disgruntled soldier opened fire in and around a mall in the northeastern city of Nakhon Ratchasima, killing 29 people and holding off security forces for 16 hours before being killed by them.

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