A gunman who attacked a Thailand child care center and fired from his car as he fled killed at least 37 people Thursday, including two dozen children. It was the deadliest mass shooting in the country’s history. The assailant, a former police officer, killed his wife and child before taking his own life, the Associated Press reports. Photos and videos posted online showed the floor of one child care center room was smeared with blood and sleeping mats scattered about. Frantic family members could be heard weeping outside the building.
A witness said the center locked the door to the building when they saw the suspect approaching with a handgun, but that he shot through it. “The teacher who died, she had a child in her arms,” said the witness. “I didn’t think he would kill children, but he shot at the door and shot right through it.” Authorities said the assailant entered the child care center after noon in the northeastern Thai town of Nongbua Lamphu. He was fired from the force because of drug-related offenses. Firearm-related deaths in Thailand are much lower than in countries like the U.S. and Brazil, but higher than in countries like Japan and Singapore that have strict gun control laws. The rate of firearms related deaths in 2019 was 4 per 100,000, compared with about 11 per 100,000 in the U.S.