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At least 36 dead, including 22 children, after shooting at Thailand Day Care

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A former police officer opened fire at a daycare centre in Thailand killing at least 35 people, mostly children, before turning a weapon on his family and then himself.

The attacker – armed with a shotgun, pistol and a knife – began the killing spree in Nong Bua Lam Phu province at about 12:30pm (05:30 GMT) on Thursday before fleeing the scene in a pick-up truck.

The dead included at least 23 children, said police Colonel Jakkapat Vijitraithaya. 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 his wife and child, Jakkapat said.

The attacker was named as former police officer Panya Khamrab, 34, and Jakkapat said he was dismissed from the force last year for drug use.

Nanthicha Punchum, acting head of the nursery, described harrowing scenes as the attacker barged into the building.

“There were some staff eating lunch outside the nursery and the attacker parked his car and shot four of them dead,” she said. “The shooter smashed down the door with his leg and then came inside and started slashing the children’s heads with a knife.”