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Thailand’s deadliest mass shooting: Family members mourn dozens of children killed

UTHAI SAWAN, Thailand — Family members in Thailand gathered Friday around tiny coffins the day after an ex-cop killed 24 children and 12 adults, in a mass shooting a day earlier.

Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-o-cha, other government representatives and relatives left flowers at the day care center. By afternoon, bouquets of white roses and carnations lined the wall outside, along with five tiny juice boxes, bags of corn chips and a stuffed animal, according to The Associated Press.

“I cried until I had no more tears coming out of my eyes. They are running through my heart,” Seksan Sriraj, 28, whose pregnant wife worked at the Young Children’s Development Center in Uthai Sawan. She was due to give birth this month, Sriraj told the AP.K

King Maha Vajiralongkorn and Queen Suthida visited a hospital where some of the 10 people who were wounded were being treated.

The deadly mass shooting sent shockwaves throughout Thailand. Flags were lowered to half-staff while children at school said prayers to honor the dead.

Relatives are grieving after a former police officer, Panya Kamrab, killed at least 34 people, including 24 children, at the Child Development Center in rural Uthai Sawan on Thursday. Kamrab had been dismissed from his job over allegations of drug use.

Kamrab took his own life after killing his wife and child at home following the shooting.

According to The New York Times, the attack is considered one of the deadliest mass shootings in the world and was the worst mass shooting by a single person in Thailand.

Mass shootings are considered rare in Thailand, but Asia has one of the highest civilian gun ownership rates.

The worst mass killing before Thursday’s attack involved a disgruntled soldier who opened fire in and around a mall in the northeastern city of Nakhon Ratchasima in 2020. The AP reported that he killed 29 people and held off security forces for 16 hours before eventually being killed by them.