Armed with a shotgun, a handgun, and a knife, Panya Khamrap invaded a Thai daycare center where he murdered his family and massacred sleeping infants.
Before making his way into a locked chamber painted with animal drawings and killing sleeping children as young as two, he shot dead many people, including an eight-month pregnant mother.
The 34-year-old, who had been in court earlier today on drug-related charges, arrived to the nursery and began the carnage at the kindergarten 300 miles northeast of Bangkok after he became upset to discover his child wasn’t there.
As he left in a white van that he had set ablaze at his house before murdering his wife and child and turning the pistol on himself, he resumed the assault in the neighboring streets, firing at passersby and attempting to drive over terrified pedestrians.
On Thursday night, the Australian prime minister expressed his sorrow over the growing tragedy.
It’s difficult to imagine the pain caused by this terrible news from Thailand. Mr. Albanese wrote, “All Australians extend our love and sorrow.
Penny Wong, the foreign minister, has also released a statement.
“I am heartbroken to hear that a shooting occurred at a daycare center in Nong Bua Lamphu, Thailand. For the families and the neighborhood, our hearts ache. During this very trying moment, our thoughts are with them and the people of Thailand, she added.
Along with the shooter, there have been a total of 35 fatalities. At the nursery, 24 dead were discovered, including two adults, three females, and 19 boys. Outside the center, a government building housed the deaths of another adult and a little child.
One child, four adults, and another adult were discovered dead at the shooter’s home. Another adult was also slain nearby. Twelve additional persons were transported to the hospital where three more adults were declared deceased and treated for injuries.
Prior to the shootings, Khamrap, who was discharged from the service last year after failing a drug test, was in court today.
According to police spokeswoman Paisan Luesomboon, the shooter went to the childcare center to look for his child after attending a court hearing related to a narcotics case earlier on Thursday but the youngster was not present.
He was already anxious, and when he couldn’t locate his child, he became even more anxious and began firing, according to Paisan.
After the carnage at the nursery, a massive search was begun, but when police finally got to the shooter’s house, they discovered his burned-out pickup vehicle and his family already dead inside.
When the shooter came, there were fewer children at the center than usual because of the severe rain that had kept many people away, according to district administrator Jidapa Boonsom, who was occupying a neighboring office at the time.
A teacher who was eight months pregnant was among the four or five employees the perpetrator first shot, according to Jidapa.
People first believed it to be fireworks, she continued.
“It’s startling,” you say. Once we realized there was gunfire, we fled for cover in great fear. I’ve never seen anything like that, there were so many children slaughtered.
The bumper of the gunman’s white Vigo pickup vehicle with four doors came off as he fled.
A teacher who survived the shooting at a Thai nursery described how the assailant tried to shoot her in the head but she managed to scale a wall to escape.
I knew it was a gun because I heard many rounds, and then I saw him load the rifle and point it at me, the woman said.
“I phoned the instructor, and she was giving the child a hug.” I climbed the walls and yelled for assistance as he kicked the mirror.
He spent a lot of time inside the child center. He severed the heads of all the children with a knife. He had a tiny pistol with him.
I was unaware that he intended to murder the children. I had expected him to emerge, but he spent a considerable amount of time inside. He stabbed each child with a knife.
He also attacked a teacher who was expecting. She will give birth in just a few months. My crew was cut by him. I just know that.
Eyewitness Paweena Purichan, 31, was traveling to her business on her motorbike when she came across the Panya who was escaping while driving recklessly.
She told AFP that “he planned to collide with other vehicles on the route.”
“The assailant rammed a motorcycle, injuring two persons.” To get away from him, I sped off.
Blood was evident everywhere.
The assailant, according to Paweena, was a well-known drug user in the neighborhood.
Thailand is a component of Southeast Asia’s famed “Golden Triangle,” which has long been a hub for drug usage and trafficking.
According to the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, methamphetamine street prices have reached historic lows in Thailand due to soaring supply.
According to a government official, the prime minister had notified all authorities to take action and capture the offender before they discovered his lifeless corpse.
PM Prayuth Chan-ocha called it a tragic occurrence and expressed sympathy to the victims’ families.
To the relatives of the deceased and wounded, he said: “Concerning this horrible occurrence… I would want to convey my profound sadness and sympathies.”
The incident, according to Police Major General Achayon Kraithong, took place in the early afternoon in the town of Nongbua Lamphu.
Less than a month before to the mass murder, a serving army officer shot and killed two of his coworkers at a military training facility in Bangkok.
Despite the high incidence of gun ownership in Thailand, major shootings are exceedingly uncommon.
Huge amounts of illicit weapons, many of which have been imported over the years across weak borders from neighboring countries experiencing civil war, are not included in official statistics.
However, the Bangkok Post reports that there have been at least two further instances of serving troops shooting and killing people.
In one of the bloodiest recent events in the kingdom in 2020, a soldier killed 29 people over the course of a 17-hour spree and injured dozens more before being killed by commandos.
Anger towards the military was raised by that horrific massacre, which was connected to a financial dispute between the shooter, Sergeant-Major Jakrapanth Thomma, and a senior officer.
Before starting his murderous rampage, the soldier was able to seize assault weaponry from an army storage and posted real-time updates on social media.
Military leaders went to great lengths to present the murderer as a renegade soldier.