Grief-stricken households ready to start funeral rites Friday for 36 folks murdered by a sacked policeman who rampaged by a nursery armed with a gun and knife in considered one of Thailand's worst mass killings.
After a day of mourning on the scene of the bloodshed, coffins bearing the our bodies of the victims — 24 of them kids — have been transported to temples on flat-bed vehicles to be handed over to family members.
King Maha Vajiralongkorn will later go to survivors in hospital — a uncommon direct interplay with the general public for the Thai monarch, who’s formally thought to be a semi-divine figurehead.
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-O-Cha laid flowers on the nursery in rural northeastern Nong Bua Lam Phu province and handed out compensation cheques to grieving households.
On the small, low-slung constructing officers in white uniforms laid a big floral wreath on behalf of the king earlier within the day.
A line of heartbroken mother and father positioned white roses on the steps of the nursery because the baking solar bore down.
The lifeless embody pregnant instructor Supaporn Pramongmuk, whose husband posted a poignant tribute on Fb.
"I would like to say thank you for all the support for me and my family. My wife has fulfilled her every duty as a teacher," husband Seksan Srirach wrote.
"Please be a teacher in heaven, and my child please take care of your mother in heaven."
Knife the 'fundamental weapon'
Armed along with his personal legally bought 9mm pistol and a knife, former police sergeant Panya Khamrab started his murderous spree on the childcare centre at about 12:30 pm (0530 GMT) on Thursday.
Following the assault, 34-year-old Panya fled the scene in a pickup truck to move residence and homicide his spouse and son earlier than taking his personal life, police mentioned, ending the rampage at about 3:00 pm.
In whole, he killed 24 kids — 21 boys and three ladies — and 12 adults.
Pitak Kongtapthai, head of the police investigations unit within the province, mentioned a lot of the deaths have been brought on by a mix of knife wounds and gunshots.
Panya joined the police in 2012 and rose to the rank of sergeant however was suspended from the power in January and sacked in June for drug use, Nationwide Police Chief Damrongsak Kittiprapat advised reporters.
Damrongsak mentioned preliminary checks discovered no medication in Panya's physique after the assault, although a number of locals mentioned Panya was identified within the space as a methamphetamine person.
The police chief mentioned the attacker used his knife because the "main weapon" within the nursery.
He had an argument along with his spouse hours earlier than the assault, Damrongsak mentioned, however "nothing irregular" was famous when he appeared in court docket that morning on a medicine possession cost.
Flags on authorities buildings flew at half-mast on Friday in a gesture of mourning for one of many deadliest days in latest Thai historical past.
Buarai Tanontong's two three-year-old grandsons have been amongst these killed on the nursery.
"I couldn't sleep. I didn't think that it would be my two grandsons," she mentioned, clutching her inconsolable daughter's shoulder.
Nanthicha Punchum, performing chief of the nursery, described harrowing scenes because the attacker barged into the constructing within the rural Na Klang district.
"There were some staff eating lunch outside the nursery and the attacker parked his car and shot four of them dead," she advised AFP.
She mentioned the attacker smashed down the door along with his leg after which began stabbing the kids.
Native media reported that one baby survived as a result of they have been sleeping hidden by a blanket when the attacker struck.
PM orders probe
Witness Pranom Innurak described how her sister, now recovering in hospital, was injured.
"He (Panya) was driving a car on his way back home and he rammed into everyone on his way," she advised AFP, including that her sister's daughter was among the many lifeless.
"When my sister got hit, she wasn't that hurt yet. She flew out from her food stall. He then used a knife to attack her."
Thai chief Prayut has ordered a fast probe into the assault, and on Friday police interviewed witnesses and households.
The tragedy got here lower than three years after a soldier within the northeastern metropolis of Nakhon Ratchasima gunned down 29 folks and wounded scores extra in a 17-hour rampage, earlier than he was shot lifeless by commandos.
And fewer than a month in the past a military officer shot lifeless two colleagues at a navy coaching base within the capital Bangkok.