At least 34 people, including 22 children, were murdered in a mass shooting in the northeastern province of Thailand on Thursday, as per reports.
The gunman, identified as Panya Khamrab, was a former police officer. He was armed with a gun and a knife and forced his way into a day-care centre in northeast Thailand, shooting dead at least 30 people including children, before killing himself and his family, police said.
The assailant was a former police lieutenant colonel, and was dismissed last year from the force due to drug use, said police colonel Jakkapat Vijitraithaya, as per AFP.
Khamrab, armed with a shotgun, a pistol and a knife, opened fire on a childcare centre in Nong Bua Lam Phu province at about 12:30 pm (0530 GMT) before fleeing the scene in a vehicle, as per reports.
He first shot four or five staff, including a teacher who was eight months pregnant, as per authorities, and gunned down at least 23 children before fleeing. A manhunt was launched to nab him.
Soon after the incident, Khamrab reportedly drove back home and killed his wife and child, before shooting himself. The gunman’s motives are still unclear, and updates are awaited.
“The death toll from the shooting incident… is at least 30 people," Anucha Burapachaisri, a spokesman for the Thai prime minister’s office, said.
Jakkapat said there were 23 children among the dead, aged two to three years old.
(With agency inputs)