A former Thailand police officer went on a shooting spree and killed at least 36 people on Thursday.
The crime took place in Nongbua Lamphu, a rural town in northeast Thailand, which is one of the poorest regions, the Associated Press reported.
The shooting began at a local day car center. One of the teachers said that the shooter got out of a car outside and immediately began firing. He first shot a man who was eating lunch outside the building.
“I ran to the back. The children were asleep. The children were two or three years old,” the teacher said.
She was able to run into to the back of the school because the shooter was reloading his gun.
“Photos taken by first responders showed the school’s floor littered with the tiny bodies of children still on their blankets, where they had been taking an afternoon nap. The images showed slashes to their faces and gunshots to their heads and pools of blood,” the AP reported.
The man then drove home and killed himself along with his wife and child, who was a student at the day care.
The man who went on this rampage was fired earlier this year from his job as a police officer and was facing a drug charge.
Once the Thailand Police began investigating the crime, they noted that the killer used a gun and knife in the killing spree and believe he could have been on drugs, the BBC reported.
The man was actually due in court for a hearing related to the drug charges he was facing on Thursday morning.
“After getting out of jail, he didn’t stop using drugs. So, possibly, he might be hallucinating coupled with stress which caused him to commit the crimes. He started at the children’s day care center and then continued his crime all the way to his home,” the police said, according to the BBC.
“After inspecting the crime scene, we found that the perpetrator tried to break in, and he mainly used a knife to commit the crime by killing a number of small children, while a few survived,” Thailand National Police Chief Damrongsak Kittiprapat said, according to the BBC.
“Then he got out and started killing anyone he met along the way with a gun or the knife until he got home. We surrounded the house and then found that he committed suicide in his home,” the police chief added.
Another witness who was at the scene of the crime said that the day care has actually locked the doors, but the man shot them open.
The witness saw one of the teachers killed, they told Thailand’s Kom Chad Luek television, the AP reported.
“The teacher who died, she had a child in her arms. I didn’t think he would kill children, but he shot at the door and shot right through it,” the unnamed witness said, according to the AP.
Besides those who were killed, 10 others were wounded. Six of those were critically hurt, police spokesman Archayon Kraithong said.
This is the worst shooting that Thailand has experienced. In 2020, a soldier opened fire in a mall and killed 29 people, the AP reported.
Meanwhile, the country’s prime minister made statements mourning the victims and said that he plans to travel to the town on Friday.
“This shouldn’t happen,” Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha said, according to the AP. “I feel deep sadness toward the victims and their relatives.”
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.