Thailand daycare attack: Dozens, mainly kids, killed


Relatives wailed and a few collapsed as they grieved Friday over the small coffins carrying youngsters slain by a fired police supply who stormed a day care centre in rural Thailand throughout naptime.

Thailand’s deadliest mass killing left nearly nobody untouched within the small group nestled amongst rice paddies in one of many nation’s poorest areas. Grief additionally gripped the remainder of the nation, the place flags have been lowered to half-staff and schoolchildren stated prayers to honor the lifeless.

At least 24 of the 36 individuals killed in Thursday’s grisly gun and knife assault have been youngsters, principally preschoolers.

“I cried till I had no extra tears popping out of my eyes. They are operating by means of my coronary heart,” stated Seksan Sriraj, 28, whose pregnant spouse was resulting from give start this month and who labored on the Young Children’s Development centre in Uthai Sawan.

“My spouse and my baby have gone to a peaceable place. I’m alive and should dwell. If I am unable to go on, my spouse and my baby will likely be nervous about me, and so they will not be reborn within the subsequent life,” he stated.

A stream of individuals, together with Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, different authorities representatives and family themselves, have left flowers on the day care centre. By afternoon, bouquets of white roses and carnations lined the wall exterior, together with 5 tiny juice containers, baggage of corn chips and a stuffed animal.

Later, family obtained the our bodies on the native Buddhist temple. As the small, white coffins have been opened, some screamed, whereas others fainted. Paramedics revived them with smelling salts. For a time, the grounds exterior the temple have been crowded with individuals overcome by grief.

“It was simply an excessive amount of. I am unable to settle for this,” stated Oy Yodkhao, 51, sitting on a bamboo mat within the oppressive warmth as family gave her water and gently mopped her forehead.

Her 4-year-old grandson Tawatchai Sriphu was killed, and she or he stated she nervous for the kid’s siblings. The household of rice farmers is shut, with three generations residing underneath one roof.

Som-Mai Pitfai collapsed when she noticed the physique of her 3-year-old niece.

“When I appeared, I noticed she had been slashed within the face with a knife,” the 58-year-old stated, holding again tears.

King Maha Vajiralongkorn and Queen Suthida have been anticipated later within the day to go to hospitals, the place seven of the ten individuals wounded stay. A vigil was deliberate in a central park in Bangkok, the nation’s capital.

Police recognized the attacker as Panya Kamrap, 34, a former police sergeant fired earlier this 12 months due to a drug cost involving methamphetamine. He had been resulting from seem in courtroom Friday. An worker informed a Thai TV station that Panya’s son had attended the day care however hadn’t been there for a couple of month.

Witnesses stated the attacker shot a person and baby in entrance of the centre earlier than strolling towards it. Teachers locked the glass entrance door, however the gunman shot and kicked his approach by means of it. The youngsters, mainly preschoolers, had been taking a day nap, and photographs taken by first responders confirmed their tiny our bodies nonetheless mendacity on blankets. In some photos, slashes to the victims’ faces and gunshots to their heads could possibly be seen.

Panya took his personal life after killing his spouse and baby at house.

In an interview with Amarin TV, Satita Boonsom, who labored on the day care centre, stated workers locked the door to the constructing after seeing the assailant shoot a baby and his father out entrance. But the attacker broke the glass and went on to assault the youngsters and staff together with his knife and firearm.

Satita stated she and three different academics climbed the centre’s fence to flee and name police and search assist. By the time she returned, the youngsters have been lifeless. She stated one baby who was coated by a blanket survived the assault, apparently as a result of the assailant assumed he was lifeless.

She stated the centre normally has round 70 to 80 youngsters, however there have been fewer on the time of the assault as a result of the semester had ended for older youngsters and rain prevented a college bus from working.

“They would not have survived,” she stated.

Satita added that the attacker’s son hadn’t been to the day care centre just lately as a result of he was sick.

One of the youngest survivors is a 3-year-old boy who was driving a tricycle near his mom and grandmother when the assailant started slashing them with the knife. The mom died from her wounds, and the boy and grandmother have been being handled at hospitals, in line with native media.

Mass shootings are uncommon however not extraordinary in Thailand, which has one of many highest civilian gun possession charges in Asia, with 15.1 weapons per 100 individuals in comparison with solely 0.3 in Singapore and 0.25 in Japan. That’s nonetheless far decrease than the U.S. fee of 120.5 per 100 individuals, in line with a 2017 survey by Australia’s nonprofit group.

Support and condolences poured in from all over the world. “All Australians ship their love and condolences,” Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese tweeted. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken known as the violence “mindless and heartbreaking.”

Pope Francis provided prayers for all these affected by such “unspeakable violence.”

“I’m profoundly saddened by the heinous taking pictures at a childcare centre in Thailand,” U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres tweeted.

Thailand’s earlier worst mass killing concerned a disgruntled soldier who opened fireplace in and round a mall within the northeastern metropolis of Nakhon Ratchasima in 2020, killing 29 individuals and holding off safety forces for some 16 hours earlier than ultimately being killed by them.

Nearly 60 others have been wounded in that assault. Its dying toll surpassed that of the beforehand worst assault on civilians, a 2015 bombing at a shrine in Bangkok that killed 20 individuals. It was allegedly carried out by human traffickers in retaliation for a crackdown on their community.

Last month, a clerk shot co-workers at Thailand’s Army War College in Bangkok, killing two and wounding one other earlier than he was arrested.


Associated Press writers Chalida Ekvitthayavechnukul, Elaine Kurtenbach and Grant Peck in Bangkok and Kim Tong-hyung in Seoul, South Korea, contributed to this report.


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