Updated Oct 6, 2022 - World

At least 37 killed in mass shooting at Thailand child care center

Rescue personnel carry a victim's coffin at the hospital morgue in Udon Thani on Oct. 6, 2022 following a mass murder at a nursery by a former policeman. Photo: Manan Vatsyayana/AFP via Getty Images

At least 37 people — including at least 24 children — were killed in a mass shooting at a child care center in northeast Thailand, police said Thursday.

Driving the news: Authorities identified the gunman as a former police officer and said that, after the attack in the province of Nong Bua Lamphu, he killed his wife and child, then shot himself, Reuters reports.

  • The man had been in court earlier Thursday in case related to drug charges.
  • Police said witnesses also saw the gunman wielding a knife. After arriving at the child care center, he shot several officials working there.
  • About 30 children were at the child care center when the attacker arrived.
  • Most of the children who were killed were stabbed to death, police said. Most were between the ages of two and five, Reuters reported, citing a local official.
  • It's not yet clear whether the current death toll includes the shooter and his family, per CNN.

What they're saying: "According to the shocking incident reported in Nong Bua Lamphu this afternoon, I would like to express my deepest condolences to the families of the lost and injured," Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-o-cha said in a statement.

  • "Learning spaces are places of hope for a better world," tweeted Kyungsun Kim, the UNICEF representative to Thailand. "We owe it to every child to protect them from violence at all times, everywhere."

The big picture: Mass shootings are relatively rare in the country.

  • However, gun ownership on average is higher in Thailand than in other countries in the region.

Editor's note: This story was updated with more details on the attack.

Go deeper