In what is believed to be the country’s deadliest incident of its kind, at least 36 people, 24 of them children, were killed, in a massacre at a child care center in northeastern Thailand.
According to BBC, the suspected attacker, Panya Kamrab, was just in court on Thursday for drug charges related to the use and possible sale of methamphetamine before the 34-year-old ex-policeman stormed the nursery at 12.30pm.
The verdict was scheduled to be delivered today (Oct 7, 2022; Friday).
In an earlier undated search of his residence, police found a tablet of Yaba in his house, reports CNN. Yaba is a combination of methamphetamine and caffeine, otherwise known as crystal meth. It is a tablet that is usually crushed and smoked, known locally as “crazy medicine”.
Charges of possessing the “Category 1” drug led to his suspension from police duty in January. He was then dismissed from the police force in June.
According to police spokesperson Maj. General Paisan Luesomboon, the attacker allegedly went to the nursery to look for his 2-year-old stepson who was enrolled there. However, the headteacher Nanticha Panchum said that the young boy had not been attending school for a month.
Without saying a word, Panya then “managed to get into a room where 24 kids were sleeping” killing all but one of them using a knife, said Paisan.
One of the centre’s teachers described what she saw as the attacker opened fire while two staff were having lunch.
“I suddenly heard something that sounded like fire crackers. So I looked back [and] the two staffs just collapsed on the floor“, the teacher said.
“Then he pulled another gun from his waist…I didn’t expect he would also kill the kids“, they said.
The teacher also said that the attacker was also carrying a second gun, as well as a knife, which he used to fatally stab another teacher, who was eight months pregnant.
Most of the deaths were the result of “stabbing wounds”, Paisan told CNN. A teacher and Police General Damrongsak Kittiprapas corroborated Paisan’s statement that the attacker mainly used a knife to kill the children.
“It all went down really fast. He was slashing the knife, he didn’t use the gun, he kept slashing in there. It’s all by a knife“, she said.
“Then he got out and started killing anyone he met along the way with a gun or the knife until he got home”, said Damrongsak. “We surrounded the house and then found that he committed suicide in his home after killing his wife and son.”
What a shocking tragedy this is. Our hearts go out to all the victims and their families.