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Ex-officer murders 32 in Thai nursery before killing wife, child and himself

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
People gather outside the daycare centre in Nong Bua Lamphu where a mass shooting took place on October 6, 2022. (Reuters photo)

An ex-police officer has killed 35 people, including his family and himself, and wounded 12 others in eastern Thailand, according to police.

The gunman, armed with a shotgun, pistol and knife, opened fire at the Child Development Center in Uthaisawan Na Klang district, Nong Bua Lamphu province on Thursday afternoon, killing 32 people, including 23 children.

He then went home and murdered his wife and child before killing himself.

"The shooter came in around lunch time and shot four or five officials at the childcare center first," district official Jidapa Boonsom, who was working in a nearby office at the time, told Reuters.

The attacker identified as Panya Khamrab had been discharged from the police service last year for drug-related reasons. He had attended a court hearing on a drugs charge prior to the incident and was agitated when he arrived at the day-care facility.

The incident comes less than a month after a serving army officer fatally shot two colleagues at a military training base in the capital Bangkok.

The rate of gun ownership in Thailand is high in comparison to other regional countries, however, official figures exclude huge numbers of illegal weapons, most of which have been brought in across porous borders from its neighbors over the years.

Although mass shootings are rare, in 2020, a soldier livid over a property deal shot dead at least 29 people and wounded 57 in four different locations.

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