A former police officer massacred a daycare center in Thailand, killing more than 30 people. The crime happened on Thursday afternoon (local time) in Nong Bua Lamphu province in the north-east of the country. Deputy Chief of Police Torsak Sukwimol initially spoke of at least 34 dead. According to a later police report, the number rose to 37 by the evening. More than 20 children were among the victims. Thai media spoke of a killing spree.
Most of the victims are said to have died in the day care center, but the perpetrator (34), who was only recently released from the police service, continued to shoot and kill people while escaping from his car, Thai media reported. A dozen people were injured, some seriously.
The local hospital called on the population to donate blood. The horror across the country was huge. Many users wrote shocked comments on social networks and expressed their condolences to the relatives.
The perpetrator then fled in a white pick-up. The emergency services issued a manhunt. A short time later, however, it became known that the man had killed himself. Previously, he apparently killed his wife and child in his home. A burnt-out pickup truck was found nearby. It was unclear whether the perpetrator and his family were included in the official number of victims.
The relatives of the dead were completely in despair, wrote "Khaosod". Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-Cha spoke of a "shocking incident" in a statement and said: "I have instructed the national police chief to travel to the region to expedite legal action and I have asked everyone involved to please everyone concerned to help urgently." He wanted to travel to the scene himself on Friday.
The background to the fact was still unclear. The perpetrator was released from the police force in June for drug-related offenses. Methamphetamine pills were previously found on him. There was speculation that the man might have been under the influence of drugs at the time. A police spokesman said anger at his dismissal and a court case against him may also have been the reason for the crime. According to police chief Damrongsak Kittiprapas, the verdict should be pronounced this Friday.
Nong Bua Lamphu Province is located 500 kilometers north-east of Bangkok near the Laos border. It is one of the worst acts of violence in the recent history of the Buddhist country. In February 2020, a soldier killed 29 people in a rampage. The sergeant had taken hostages in a shopping center in Nakhon Ratchasima in the northeast of the country. He was later shot dead by security forces.