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A former police officer has stormed a child daycare centre in Thailand, killing at least 34 people, most of them children, before killing himself and his family.
The attacker, armed with a shotgun, a pistol and a knife, opened fire on children and adults at the centre in Nong Bua Lamphu province at about 12:30 pm (0530 GMT) on Thursday before fleeing the scene in a pick-up truck.
The dead include at least 22 children, said police colonel Jakkapat Vijitraithaya, from the province where the attack happened.
The gunman forced his way into a locked room where children were sleeping at the time, according to a witness.
After the attack, the gunman went home and killed himself and his wife and child, Jakkapat said.
The gunman has been named as former police officer Panya Khamrab, 34, and Jakkapat said he was dismissed from the force last year for drug use.
Al Jazeera’s Tony Cheng, reporting from Bangkok, said emergency services were alerted at about 12:30pm (05:30am GMT) local time with reports of a disturbance at a daycare centre in the country’s northeast.
“We understand now there are more than 31 fatalities including a large number of children. A suspect was chased from the scene in a white pick-up truck,” Cheng said, adding that Thai media identified the suspect as a former Thai policeman who had been relieved of his duties.
SOURCE: Al Jazeera