Thai nursery bloodbath unfolded over three hours of horror By Reuters


© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A view of a day care heart which was the scene of a mass taking pictures, within the city of Uthai Sawan, round 500 km northeast of Bangkok within the province of Nong Bua Lam Phu, Thailand October 6, 2022. REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha


By Poppy McPherson, Kwang Jiraporn Kuhakan and Orathai Sriring

THA UTHAI, Thailand (Reuters) – Within the days earlier than he murdered 36 individuals, together with 22 youngsters stabbed as they slept, the previous police sergeant behind Thailand’s worst bloodbath was firing weapons in his again yard.

For a number of nights the sound of 34-year-old Panya Khamrap’s 9 mm pistol cracked the silence within the sleepy village of Tha Uthai, neighbours mentioned.

It was the newest present of violence from the previous police officer, as soon as a village success story who turned an indignant, introverted man in a downward spiral, although nonetheless invested with a few of the authority his previous job bestowed.

“How have been we going to report him to the police? He was the police,” mentioned Phuwan Polyeam, 29, who lives shut by along with her two youngsters.

Panya murdered the 36 individuals in a three-hour rampage by the district by which he was born, taking pictures and stabbing to demise neighbours, together with a childhood buddy.

The 22 youngster victims on the nursery have been girls and boys aged two to 5. Seven are in hospital.

The violence – the deadliest bloodbath of youngsters anyplace in recent times – has surprised the nation.

Authorities initially blamed medicine. Panya was described by police as a person of methamphetamine tablets generally known as yaba and was fired in January for drug possession.

However an post-mortem discovered no hint of medicine in Panya’s system on the day of the killings, on Thursday final week, police mentioned.

Thailand’s deputy police chief, Basic Surachate Hakparn, informed Reuters the violence resulted from “exploded emotion”, pointing to his dismissal from the police and authorized, cash, and household troubles.

Panya’s actions that day are obscure. There have been a number of murders in numerous areas and police have but to launch a complete account.

Reuters established a timeline of occasions by interviews with neighbours, witnesses, and an investigating officer.

They recounted three hours of horror and a sluggish police response. Cellphone information confirmed many particulars.

Surachate acknowledged the police response had been sluggish and officers arrived too late to cease the killing. He additionally pointed to the regulation, which forbids even licensed gun homeowners from firing at residence or in public.

“If there had been an arrest then this won’t have occurred,” he mentioned.


Nong Bua Lam Phu is a poor northeastern province lush with rice and sugarcane fields.

Panya grew up within the distant village of Tha Uthai and attended highschool earlier than successful a spot to check regulation at a prime Bangkok college. He later obtained a job with the police, working in a few of the capital’s wealthiest neighbourhoods.

However in 2020 he arrived again residence. Newly divorced, he moved in with a girl who labored at a karaoke bar and her son.

He labored at a police station however in January was fired for medicine. Colleagues mentioned he was scorching tempered and began fights.

There have been different troubling indicators. A neighbour mentioned he locked his girlfriend and her son inside when he went out.

The deputy chief of a neighbouring village informed media Panya had praised the 2020 bloodbath of 29 individuals in one other province by the hands of a soldier, saying that he would have killed extra. She declined to be interviewed.

One other neighbour mentioned that days earlier than his rampage the village chief warned Panya about his behaviour. They argued and the village chief was afraid, mentioned the neighbour, Suwan Tonsomsen. The chief couldn’t be reached for remark.

Early on the day of the bloodbath, Panya had a court docket appointment on a medication cost. The decision was due the following day. Earlier than daybreak, neighbours heard him arguing together with his girlfriend at their small residence on the fringe of the village. Police mentioned she informed him she was leaving him.


Reuters was unable to determine what occurred on the court docket however media, citing neighbours, reported that Panya’s lawyer had requested him to indicate proof of fine character. One other neighbour informed Reuters he had seen Panya’s mom together with his diploma certificates.

When he returned residence, police mentioned, Panya’s girlfriend and her son have been gone.

At round noon, he left in a white pick-up truck. Turning a nook, he crashed into a person on a motorbike outdoors a small store. He rolled down the window and shot him, in line with witness Sombat Rattani, who ran the store.

The mortally wounded man crawled in direction of the store, pleading for assist, Sombat mentioned. He glimpsed Panya by the window, his gun pointed at him, and thought he was going to die. They knew one another. Panya had purchased water from his store.

Panya didn’t shoot. As an alternative, he drove to an intersection the place he rammed into a bunch of individuals, left his truck, and stabbed them. Three died and several other have been wounded.

From there he drove to the executive advanced the place the Uthai Sawan Little one Improvement Centre, a pink, one-storey constructing, is situated subsequent to a authorities workplace.

Academics within the nursery had put the youngsters down for his or her nap by the point Panya arrived at round 12:30 p.m.

He attacked individuals within the courtyard, taking pictures some, slashing others with an extended blade that farmers use for hacking crops.

Two died instantly, three in hospital.

“The whole lot occurred so shortly and there was blood in every single place,” mentioned workplace employee Kittisak Polprakap, 29.

“I noticed the wounded and lifeless sitting collectively at a desk as if nothing had occurred.”

Individuals ran. Two feminine staff, Jidapha Boonsom, 48, and Saowaluk Keeta, 25, dashed into an workplace looking onto the nursery.

Some employees known as the police however have been informed they have been busy elsewhere.

Panya shot twice on the nursery door and kicked it open, a witness informed media. For about 20 minutes he went from room to room, taking pictures lecturers and slashing the youngsters together with his machete.

Some lecturers fled over a wall however not Supaporn Pramongmook, 26, who was eight-months pregnant. One other trainer, Maliwan Lasopha, tried to plead with Panya. That they had performed collectively as youngsters.

He killed them each.


The workplace employees mentioned Panya emerged calmly holding the blade and drove off.

Information of the violence unfold with photographs exhibiting up on social media. Suwimon Sudfanpitak, the aunt of one of many youngsters killed that day, rushed to the advanced to see two our bodies outdoors the nursery. “His trainer got here to apologise, saying there was nothing that she may do to save lots of the youngsters,” she mentioned.

The one youngster to emerge from the nursery unscathed, a three-year-old known as Ammy, was carried out with a blanket overlaying her eyes.

After driving again to his neighbourhood, Panya was approached by a neighbour. “What are you doing?” the person requested. “I am right here to fucking kill you,” Panya replied. He shot the neighbour lifeless earlier than fatally attacking one other, mentioned witness Phuwan Polyeam.

Sheltering in her home along with her two younger youngsters, her hand clamped over the mouth of her son to maintain him quiet, she despatched her mother-in-law, Suwan Tonsomsen, frantic messages. “He’s right here,” one learn.

Suwan’s telephone information confirmed quite a few calls to the police. “They mentioned there weren’t sufficient police,” she mentioned, and so they needed to look forward to a commando unit. “It took them some time,” she mentioned.

Suwan mentioned that after Panya tried to set hearth to their automotive he left. He walked again to his home the place, at round 3 p.m., he burned his truck, shot his girlfriend, her son after which himself.

The group is reeling.

“Everybody will get depressed,” shopkeeper Sombat mentioned. “However the resolution will not be crime … Why did he assault and damage youngsters? That’s what we’re asking.”

(This story accommodates language that readers could discover offensive in paragraph 43)

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