A former police officer killed 34 people, including 24 children, some as they slept, at a day care center in Thailand on Thursday, according to The Associated Press.
Police identified the man as Panya Kamrab, 34, a police officer who was dismissed from his job over allegations of drug use. He had been in court hours prior to the shooting, according to the BBC.
According to authorities, the man used a 9-millimeter handgun and a knife to shoot and stab children at the Child Development Center Uthaisawan.
A district official, Jidapa Boonsom, told Reuters that there were about 30 children at the center located in the northeastern province of Nong Bua Lamphu. The center is a little more than 300 miles northeast of Bangkok.
“The shooter came in around lunch time and shot four or five officials at the child care center first,” said Jidapa, adding that among the victims was a teacher who was eight months pregnant.
At first, people thought the shots were fireworks, she told Reuters.
Police spokesperson Paisan Luesomboon told broadcaster ThaiPBS that the gunman had come to the center looking for his child after being in court on a drug case earlier.
His child was not at the center when he showed up.
“He was already stressed, and when he couldn’t find his child, he was more stressed and started shooting,” Paisan said.
The man drove home, killed his wife and his child then killed himself, according to law enforcement authorities.
The victims of the attack are reported to include children as young as 2, the BBC reported. At least 12 other people were wounded; some were shot as the man drove away from the center.
Thailand’s prime minister, Prayuth Chan-ocha, posted on Facebook: “My deepest condolences to the bereaved and injured families. Let all parties involved help and heal those affected urgently.”
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