A mass shooting at a childcare center in northeastern Thailand on Thursday killed 34 people, including at least 22 children, Thai officials said.
Authorities immediately launched a manhunt for the suspect, who was later identified by Thailand’s Central Bureau of Investigation (CIB) as a 34-year-old former police officer who was involved in an ongoing court case on suspicion of drug trafficking.
According to the major, the suspect appeared in court in Nongbu Yalampu province hours before “the children were sleeping”. General Jirapob Puridet of CIB.
Investigators later confirmed that the suspect killed his wife and children before committing suicide. It is unclear whether the gunman and his family are included in the current death toll.
Mass shooting at child development center Nong Bu Alamp Province Uthaisawan Na Klang district, according to a statement from the Prime Minister’s Office.
“The Prime Minister has expressed his condolences over the shooting,” the statement read.
Puridet told CNN that the former police officer was fired last year and “charged with drug trafficking.”
Compared to other countries in Southeast Asia, Thailand has a relatively high rate of gun ownership.
Mass shootings in the country are rare, but in one incident in 2020, a soldier killed 29 people in a shooting that started at a military site before letting shoppers enter a mall seek cover.