At least 24 of the victims were children, officials said. The gunman also killed his wife and child before taking his own life.

BANGKOK, Thailand — At least 24 children and 11 adults were killed Thursday in an attack that began at a children’s center in northeastern Thailand, authorities said. The gunman then fled the scene, firing from his car as he drove home, where he killed his wife and child before taking his own life, police said.

The first attack occurred around 12:30 p.m. when a man identified as a former police officer entered a kindergarten in the town of Nongbua Lamphu, authorities said.

Nineteen boys, three girls and two adults were killed in the building before the attacker fled, police said in a statement.

Photos and video from the scene posted online showed scattered sleeping mats in the preschool room, blood on the floor, alphabet pictures and other colorful decorations on the walls.

The video showed screams as distraught family members cried and watched outside the kindergarten building. Ambulances stood nearby as police and paramedics walked around the schoolyard.

According to Thai media reports, the gunman also used a knife in the attack.

After the suspect fled, he continued to fire from his car, wounding several people, police Maj. Gen. Paisal Lusambun told The Associated Press.

After returning home, he killed his wife and child before taking his own life, the Daily News reported.

Police said a total of two children and 10 adults died near the children’s center, including the suspect, his wife and son.

The number of gun-related deaths in Thailand is much lower than in countries such as the US and Brazil, but higher than in countries such as Japan and Singapore, which have strict gun control laws. The rate of gun deaths in 2019 was about 4 per 100,000, compared to about 11 per 100,000 in the United States and almost 23 per 100,000 in Brazil.

last month the official shot the social workers at Thailand’s military college in Bangkok, killing two and injuring another before he was arrested.

The country’s previous worst mass shooting involved a disgruntled soldier who opened fire in and around a shopping mall in the northeastern city of Nakhon Ratchasima in 2020, killing 29 people and holding off security forces for about 16 hours before he was eventually killed by them. .

Associated Press writers David Rising, Chalida Ekvittoyavechnukul, Elaine Kurtenbach and Grant Peck contributed to this story.