Former policeman kills 22 schoolChildren

It was a black Thursday at Uthai Sawan of Bangkok, the capital city of Thailand when a former policeman killed 37 people, including 22 children, during a knife and gun rampage at a daycare centre.

 

Police said the 34-year-old ex-cop attacker, after fleeing the murder scene and realising a manhunt was launched on him later shot his wife and child dead at their residence, Nong Bua Lamphu province before killing himself.

 

A teacher who survived the horrible incident told Thailand’s Thairath TV that the attacker used to drop off his child at the nursery and had appeared polite until hell broke loose today.

 

Reuters revealed that the age bracket of children at the daycare centre was from two to five years, adding that the attacker was dismissed from the police in June last year over drug allegations.

 

The report said he was facing trial on a drugs charge and had earlier appeared in court in the day before advancing to the school to collect his child.

 

A police spokesperson Paisal Luesomboon said, “He started shooting, slashing, killing children at the Utai Sawan daycare centre.”

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Another district official Jidapa Boonsom said about 30 children were at the facility when the attacker arrived, fewer than usual, as heavy rain had kept many people away.

 

“The shooter came in around lunchtime and shot four or five officials at the childcare centre first,” Jidapa said.

 

Jidapa further said: “It’s really shocking. We were very scared and running to hide once we knew it was shooting. So many children got killed, I’ve never seen anything like it.”

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Former policeman kills 22 schoolChildren
Former policeman kills 22 schoolChildren

Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan travelled on Thursday to Uthai Sawan to meet victims’ families on Thursday while the prime minister was expected to visit on Friday.

 

At least 23 children were among the dead in the mass killing in the town of Utthai Sawan. Some victims aged as young as two were attacked as they slept.

 

A dozen people who were injured have been taken to Nong Bua Lamphu district hospital.

 

Headteacher Nanticha Panchum said the attacker’s son attended the centre but had not been there for a month.

 

“The shooter came in around lunchtime and shot four or five officials at the childcare centre first,” a local official, Jidapa Boonsom, who was working nearby, told Reuters news agency. One of them was a teacher who was eight months pregnant.

 

“At first people thought it was fireworks,” she said, adding that the man then forced entry to a locked room where children were sleeping.

 

Police officers arriving after the attack were confronted with horrific scenes, the bodies of adults and children, some of them very young, lying inside and outside the building.

 

“After inspecting the crime scene, we found that the perpetrator tried to break in and he mainly used a knife to commit the crime by killing a number of small children,” said Police Chief Damrongsak Kittiprapat.

 

“Then he got out and started killing anyone he met along the way with a gun or the knife until he got home. We surrounded the house and then found that he committed suicide in his home.”

 

Police named the attacker as Panya Kamrab, a local man who had been a police sergeant before he was suspended for drug use in January, and then dismissed in June. He is understood to have appeared in court on Thursday on charges related to the use and possible sale of methamphetamine. The verdict was scheduled to be delivered on Friday.

 

Armed with a shotgun, a pistol and a knife, he stormed the nursery at about 12:30 local time (05:30 GMT).

 

The details of what followed are still emerging, but after the killing spree the attacker fled the scene in a white four-door Toyota pick-up truck with Bangkok registration plates, according to police, who launched a search for him and warned locals to keep indoors for their own safety.

 

Eyewitnesses were quoted saying the attacker had driven into bystanders and opened fire at some of them, injuring several people as he made his escape.

Former policeman kills 22 schoolChildren
Former policeman kills 22 schoolChildren

Police say Kamrab returned home, killing his wife and son before taking his own life.

 

Mass shootings in Thailand are rare, although gun ownership rates are relatively high for the region. Illegal weapons are also common in the south-east Asian country, according to the Reuters news agency.

 

The nursery attack comes less than a month after an army officer shot dead two of his colleagues at a base in Bangkok.

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