As many Americans know all too well, school shootings are a tragedy that will never heal. Over the last decade, the United States witnessed as many towns played host to such horrific events. It has almost become a tradition for the sitting President to have the emotional burden of addressing the country after another school shooting. And sadly, no matter where or when it happens, the lives lost and families ruined are unmeasurable. On Thursday, a former police officer in Thailand walked into a preschool and opened fire, killing 38 and injuring another 12.
With details still emerging, what is known is that the suspect, 34-year-old Panya Kamrab, used to work for the police department. He reached the rank of police lieutenant colonel before being dismissed in 2021 for supposed drug use. After that, it seemed that his life spiraled out of control, but that wasn’t noticeable on the surface according to one survivor. The teacher recalled seeing Kamrab drop his children off, noting he appeared to be a polite man.
But again, walking into the daycare center in Utthai Sawan, Kamrab not only killed innocent people and children, but he also killed his family. He used both a gun and knife to rampage through the center before fleeing from the police. While a manhunt ensued, Kamrab ultimately took his own life before being captured. Although the motive behind the attack is unclear, witnesses claimed that he also used his car to run into people as he tried to escape. A local officer stated, “The shooter came in around lunchtime and shot four or five officials at the childcare center first.”
One of the survivors explained the horrific scene, admitting, “The teacher who died, she had a child in her arms. I didn’t think he would kill children, but he shot at the door and shot right through it.”
When Panya Kamrab left the daycare center, he left the bodies of twenty-two children and two adults. A police report explained how he returned home after the shooting to continue his acts of violence on his wife and children before committing suicide.
While a heinous act of violence, school shootings in Thailand are rare when looking to places like the United States and Brazil. NPR reported, “The rate of firearms related deaths in 2019 was about 4 per 100,000, compared with about 11 per 100,000 in the U.S. and nearly 23 per 100,000 in Brazil. Last month, a clerk shot co-workers at Thailand’s Army War College in Bangkok, killing two and wounding another before he was arrested. The country’s previous worst mass shooting involved a disgruntled soldier who opened fire in and around a mall in the northeastern city of Nakhon Ratchasima in 2020, killing 29 people and holding off security forces for some 16 hours before eventually being killed by them.”