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In Thailand we mourn the children and other victims killed by the ex-police officer

UTHAI SAWAN, Thailand -Family members grieving for the tragic loss Friday laid wreaths of flowers at an early-childhood center in northeastern rural Thailand where a police officer massacred dozens people and children as young as two who were sleeping.

The entire nation was in shock after the grisly shooting that took place on Thursday in a tiny town tucked amid rice fields within one of the country’s most impoverished regions. The majority of the 36 victims who were killed in the attack which was Thailand’s deadliest mass shooting was a child.

“I was crying until I could see no more tears pouring through my eyelids. They’re going through my soul,” said Seksan Sriraj 28 who lost his wife due to have a baby this month, in the attack on the Young Children’s Development Center in Uthai Sawan.

“My wife and child are now in a serene location. The truth is that I’m alive, and have to live. If I don’t live my wife and child will be concerned about me and will not be reborn in the next one,” he said.

Representatives of the royal and government wearing white uniforms placed wreaths on ceremonial tables outside the main entrance of the center early on Friday, while an old Thai flag was raised at half-staff above. They were accompanied by crying family members who joined their hands to pray and laid white floral arrangements on floor.

Then, the villagers were seen walking along the streets of the town, as ambulances drove corpses back to the day-care center, where relatives waiting to be able to take them in.

The King of Thailand Maha Vajiralongkorn and Queen Suthida are expected later in the day to go to the hospitals, where seven out of the 10 patients who suffered injuries remain. Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha was scheduled to attend the day care center as well as the hospitals. A vigil was planned for the central Bangkok park.

The suspect was identified by police identified the attacker as Panya Kamrap, 34, the former police sergeant who was dismissed earlier this year over methamphetamine-related drug charges. He was scheduled to be in the courtroom on on Friday. A staff member informed an Thai television station that Panya’s son been to the day care, but had not been there for more than one month.

In response to a question about whether the centre was secured sufficient, Seksan noted the attacker was a police officer. “He did the thing he was thinking of doing in his head and was determined carry out it. I think that everybody did their best.”

Witnesses reported that the shooter killed two children and a man at the front of the center, before he walked towards the building. Teachers secured the glass doors to the front, however the attacker was able to kick and shoot through the door. The children, mostly aged between 2 and 3 years old, were taking a afternoon nap. Photographs taken by emergency responders showed their tiny bodies lying on blankets. In some photos there were slashes on the faces of the victims as well as headshots were visible.

Panya committed suicide after killing his wife and daughter at his home.

The incident occurred the Nongbua Lamphu province, one of the poorest areas in the country.

In an interview on Amarin TV, Satita Boonsom who was employed in the day care center, explained that staff had locked the door of the building after they saw the gunman shot a child as well as his father in front of. However, the attacker struck the glass and then attacked the workers and children with a knife and a gun.

Satita claimed she as well as three other teachers were able to climb the fence of the nursery to escape the nursery and called police for help. When she returned she found the children dead. The mother of one child said that he was covered in blankets was able to escape the attack, possibly since the attacker assumed that they were dead.

She explained that the center normally is home to 70-80 children, however there were less at the time the attack, due to the fact that school was over for children of a certain age and also due to the fact that a school bus couldn’t operate due to the rain.

“They would not have made it,” she said.

Satita stated that the son of the attacker had not visited the day care center for a while because of illness.

One of the newest survivors is a three-year-old boy on a tricycle next to his grandmother and mother when the perpetrator began slashing the victims with a knife. Mother died of her wounds, while the boy and his grandmother were treated in hospitals as per local media reports.

Mass shootings are not common, but they’re not uncommon in Thailand where there is among the top civil firearm possession rates of Asia and has 15.1 firearms per 100 in comparison to 0.3 of Singapore or 0.25 for Japan. This is still a lot smaller that those in the U.S. rate of 120.5 per 100 as per a 2017 study conducted by the Australian Non-profit organisation.

The support and condolences pour across the globe. “All Australians send their love and condolences” Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese tweeted. “This violent act is a tragedy and tragic,” U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement.

“I’m deeply grieved by the horrific shooting that occurred at a center for children situated in Thailand,” U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres tweeted.

The previous mass shooting that Thailand has experienced was the result of a soldier who opened fire inside and around a shopping center in the city Nakhon Ratchasima, in the year 2020. inflicting casualties on 29 and holding the security force hostage for around 16 hours, before being shot dead by security forces.

A total of 60 were wounded in the incident. The death toll was higher than that of the previous worst attack on civilians, a attack on a temple in Bangkok that claimed the lives of 20 people. It was claimed to have been committed by human traffickers to retaliate of a crackdown on their networks.

In the month of March, a clerk killed co-workers in the Thailand’s Army War College in Bangkok Two were killed and wounded one more before he was detained.



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