Thailand daycare centre massacre: Death toll rises to 37

Photo via Thai Rath

The death toll of the massacre at a daycare centre in Nong Bua Lamphu province, northeast Thailand, yesterday has risen to 37 after another victim died from their injuries in hospital.

Including the attacker, who fatally shot himself, 38 people were killed in total. He killed 24 young children, including 21 boys and three girls.

At 12.50pm, 34 year old former policeman Panya Khamrap parked a white Toyato Vigo pickup truck in front of a daycare centre in Na Klang district.

The culprit entered the building armed with two guns and a machete. He mercilessly fired shots until one gun was out of ammunition, killing two children. Then, he reloaded his gun.

A female teacher heard the gunshots and locked the door to another building in which most of the children at the centre, aged between two and six years old, were sleeping.

The ex-policeman fired one shot at the locked glass door, kicked his way through and entered the building. Using a 9mm gun, he shot and killed the female teacher.

Panya killed children in four different classrooms. He slit open the throat of an eight-month-pregnant teacher, killing her and her unborn baby.

The gunman exited the daycare centre and drove towards his home. He fired more shots from the vehicle claiming three more lives. Then he crashed into a motorbike and sidecar, killing one woman.

He got out of the car and stabbed the deceased’s woman’s three year old son in the head, who is being treated at Udon Thani Hospital. Panya stabbed the boy’s grandmother who is also injured.

When he reached home, Panya set his pickup truck on fire. He went inside and shot dead his wife and three year old son before committing suicide.

In total, the gunman killed 37 victims yesterday in Nong Bua Lamphu province. Four children in total survived the massacre, three of whom were seriously injured.

Many more people, around 12, were injured and taken to Nong Bua Lamphu Hospital for treatment. Yesterday, the hospital posted on Facebook requesting urgent blood donations.

Police say Panya had a history of drug addiction – namely methamphetamine – and was fired from the police force for failing a drug test.

Headteacher Nanticha Panchum said the gunman’s son attended the daycare centre in the past but had not attended for one month.

The police have asked people not to share graphic images of the victims circulating online out of respect for victims and their families.

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Leah is a translator and news writer for the Thaiger. Leah studied East Asian Religions and Thai Studies at the University of Leeds and Chiang Mai University. Leah covers crime, politics, environment, human rights, entertainment, travel and culture in Thailand and southeast Asia.