An ex-police officer killed 37 people in a massacre at a daycare in the Nong Bua Lamphu province of Thailand on Thursday, reports BBC News. The gunman was identified as 34-year-old Panya Kamrab, who was fired from the police force after being arrested for methamphetamine possession, The New York Times reports. Kamrab shot and stabbed children at the child-care center and then fatally shot himself and his family, police said.
Among the 37 dead, at least 24 were children, some as young as two years old, reports CNN. The assailant used a nine-millimeter handgun and a knife in the attack. It's unclear if there was a motive for the attack. The incident shocked the largely peaceful province.
It has been two years since a mass shooting of this scale in Thailand. The last time was in Feb. 2020 when a soldier opened fire at a military base and shopping mall, killing 29 people. Despite Thailand having a large number of firearms, mass shootings are quite rare, the Times explains. However, the country has high gun ownership and homicide rates and also has a rampant underground market for firearms. The shooting on Thursday was the largest attack with a single perpetrator in Thai history.
The U.S. Embassy in Thailand said in a statement, "We stand with the people of Thailand and offer our deepest condolences to the victims and their families."