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At least 34 dead after gunman opens fire in Thai daycare center

Thirty-six people, including 22 children, were dead in northeastern Thailand on Thursday after a former police officer opened fire at a daycare, police said.

At least 12 people were wounded, eight of them seriously, and were receiving medical treatment, the office of Police Gen. Surachete Hakparn said.

Among those who died in Uthai Sawan, which is 310 miles northeast of Bangkok in the province of Nong Bua Lamphu, were 19 boys and three girls, police said. The suspected shooter, who also killed his wife and child, was listed among the dead, the officer in charge of the case, Col. Jackrapat Wijitwaitaya, told NBC News.

Police named the suspect as former police officer Panya Khamrab, who had served at Na Wang Police Station in Nong Bua Bamphu Province until he was arrested with methamphetamines.

They did not provide further details on his background. Reuters reported that he left his job last year.

Image: THAILAND-SHOOTING-CHILDREN
The exterior of a nursery in the northern Thai province of Nong Bua Lam Phu, where a former policeman shot dead at least 30 people on Oct. 6, 2022.AFPTV / via Getty Images

Khamrab entered the center at lunchtime when about 30 children were present, local official Jidapa Boonsom told Reuters. One teacher who was shot dead was eight months pregnant, she said.

Pictures circulating on social media, which have not been verified by NBC News, show children’s bodies lying prone in a room with alphabet posters and colorful learning material on the walls.

The prime minister has also ordered Lt. Gen. Yanyong Wech-Osoth, commander-in-chief of the police, to fly to Nong Bua Lamphu to help with the investigation.

Mass shootings are rare in Thailand, but not unknown.

In 2020, a soldier who was angry over a property deal gone sour killed at least 29 people and wounded 57 in a rampage that spanned four locations.

Reuters contributed.