Image Source: NBC News
A total of 37 people were murdered in a mass rampage in Thailand on Thursday at a child daycare centre in Nong Bua Lamphu Province. Most of the victims happen to be children, some of whom are as young as two years old.
The perpetrator has been identified as Panya Kamrab, a former police officer whose child used to visit the same centre. Reportedly, the killer walked in with a gun and a knife and looked agitated as he could not find his son. One of the teachers at the preschool facility has conveyed that Kamrab had always appeared kind until that day. His motive remains unclear.
However, an initial investigation has revealed that the shooter was sacked from his duties due to drug abuse. He had also appeared in a court hearing early on the same day on charges of participating in the methamphetamine trade, a stimulant drug that induces an ability to be high-functioning without much sleep. Suspicions abound about whether he was under the influence of drugs during the incident.
The 34-year-old criminal barged into the facility at about lunchtime and hurt a few officials before he made his way to the room where the children were fast asleep. He later escaped in his Toyota truck to reach home, where he killed his wife and child. He then took his own life.
As was conveyed by a district official, as many as 30 children were at the centre when the attack unfolded. The number was far less than usual owing to the weather conditions in the area and the breakdown of the shared bus.
Extracting from first-hand accounts shared with several news agencies, the teachers recounted how one of them put their best foot forward to save the children. She had locked the room with the children from inside and helped other officials isolate themselves in another. She made her way out from over a wall to fetch help. However, it was too late.
Thailand’s Prime Minister, Prayuth Chan Ocha, has called the unfortunate incident shocking. The governmental departments had been informed about hoisting Thailand’s national flag on Friday to memorialise the tragedy and grief. Thailand’s King has promised to place the victims under royal patronage. The victims’ families have been assured of compensation and support. The wounded currently undergoing treatment would also be given monetary assistance.
This is the most harrowing incident with high child death tolls in the hands of one assailant in recent times. It echoes the grim reality of the school shootings that have become a regular occurrence in the US. The US has already surpassed 200 mass shootings in the ongoing year.
In Norway, Anders Breivik killed about 77 individuals in 2011. 2012 saw the demise of as many as 20 children at an elementary school in Connecticut. Another 19 were killed at a school in Texas in the current year. However, such testimonies of violence are nearly absent in the context of Thailand.
It was only in 2020 that 32-year-old Jakrapanth Thomma killed over 29 people over a property deal dispute in the region.
The shooting at the childcare facility raises panic about the safety of the kingdom’s inhabitants. As footage of emergency service providers carrying coffins of little children to a morgue and victims’ families gathering outside the Thai nursery surfaces online, Thailand shall be provoked to rethink future administrative mandates that would assist in avoiding such mishappenings.
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