Panya Khamrap, the former policeman who killed over 30 people including 22 children in a horrific mass shooting at a children’s daycare center in Thailand, with victims as young as two years old, has taken his life.
The ex-cop who was armed with a shotgun, a pistol, and a knife, first shot dead multiple adults including an eight-month-pregnant woman, before forcing his way into a locked room where he stabbed sleeping children to death.
The 34-year-old, who had been in court earlier today on drugs charges, continued the massacre in nearby streets before fleeing in a white van to his home, where he killed his wife and child and turned the gun on himself.
In total, 35 people have been killed along with the shooter. 24 bodies, including 19 boys, three girls, and two adults were found at the nursery. A further adult and young boy were killed outside the centre in a nearby government office.
At the shooter’s house, one boy and four adults were found dead, and another adult at a nearby building was also killed. Three further adults were taken to hospital where they were pronounced dead, and 12 more are being treated for injuries.
Khamrap was fired from the force last year after failing a drugs test, and he appeared in court today prior to the shootings.
A huge manhunt was launched after the massacre at the nursery. When police arrived at the shooter’s home, they found his burned-out pickup truck and his family already dead inside.
About 30 children were at the centre when the gunman came in around lunchtime, district official Jidapa Boonsom told Reuters.
The man first shot four or five staff, including a teacher who was eight months pregnant, Jidapa said.
‘At first, people thought it was fireworks,’ she added.
The gunman escaped in a white four-door Vigo pickup truck and the bumper fell off as he fled.
One member of staff at the daycare centre said: ‘I knew it was a gun because I heard multiple gunshots, and then I saw him put in the bullets and point the gun at me.
‘I called the teacher, and the teacher was hugging the child. He kicked the mirror and I climbed the walls and asked for help.
‘He was inside the child centre for a long time. He used a knife and cut all the kids’ heads. He was carrying a small gun.
‘I didn’t know he was going to kill the kids. I thought he was gonna come out but he stayed inside a long time. He used a knife and stabbed all the kids.
‘He also stabbed a pregnant teacher. Only few months till she gives birth. He stabbed my staff. That’s all I know.
Eyewitness Paweena Purichan, 31, was riding her motorcycle to her shop when she encountered the fleeing Panya driving erratically.
‘He intended to crash into others on the road,’ she told AFP.
‘The attacker rammed a motorbike and two people were injured. I sped off to get away from him.’
‘There was blood everywhere.’
Paweena said the attacker was well known in the area as a drug addict.
The mass killing comes less than a month after a serving army officer shot dead two colleagues at a military training base in the capital Bangkok.