At least 37 people, including 22 children, have been killed in Thailand massacre

At least 37 people, including 22 children, have been killed in Thailand massacre
Rescue workers stand next to coffins containing the bodies of victims at Udon Thani hospital in Udon Thani province, following a mass shooting in the town of Uthai Sawan, around 500 km northeast of Bangkok in the province of Nong Bua Lam Phu, Thailand October 7, 2022. REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha

On Thursday, a former police officer killed at least 37 people at a preschool center in Na Klang district in Thailand. Twenty-two of the victims were children. Officers say most of the children killed were stabbed to death, and the man shot other victims. After fleeing the scene, the man killed his family and then himself.

Thailand doesn’t have many mass shootings, but a couple of years ago, there was another particularly horrifying incident where a soldier killed 29 people after opening fire at a shopping mall. Thailand has somewhat strict gun laws, but it also doesn’t have the best enforcement.

The motive in this incident isn’t clear, though the killer has a history of using methamphetamines and had been in court earlier that day for that reason. Along with Thailand, Myanmar and Laos form a region well-known for drug trafficking problems. Again, though, it isn’t clear yet if the assailant was on drugs at the time.

Key comments:

“I would like to express my deepest condolences to the families of the lost and injured," wrote Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha in a statement on Facebook. “This evening, I saw a picture of many people who came together to donate blood at Nong Bua Lamphu Hospital and other hospitals in nearby provinces to help those injured from the tragic events… A picture that makes me deeply appreciate your kindness and caring heart for one another. I send my gratitude to all of you."

“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 the police chief in the region. “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."

“The teacher who died, she had a child in her arms," said one witness, whose name wasn’t given. “I didn’t think he would kill children, but he shot at the door and shot right through it."