A former policeman opened fire in a nursery in the northeastern province of Nong Bualamphu, killing at least 36 people, most of them children, police reported. (Latest update at 15.30 hours – children 24, adults 12)
Police said the gunman, identified as Panya Kamlarb, was armed with a shotgun, a pistol and a knife when he barged into the nursery which is located in the office of the Uthai Sawan Tambon Administration in Na Klang district at around 12.50pm.
Pol Maj Gen Paisal Luesomboon, deputy commander of Region 4 Police, said that the gunman was apparently under the influence of drugs. Paisal said the gunman is a former policeman who was discharged last year on charge of drug abuse.
Bodies of children were seen strewn on the floor in the nursery as shocked parents wept. Police said most of those killed were young children. They also included two teachers and a local official.
Paisal said police were in hot pursuit of the gunman who fled in a pick-up truck.
Latest report (15.30 hours) said the gunman shot himself, his 2-year-old child and his wife dead at home. Blood donations are needed at Nong Bua Lamphu Hospital after the mass shooting which left several people injured. The motive behind the mass shooting remains unknown at this time.