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Thailand nursery shooting: Distraught parents lay white roses

Some bow their heads in prayer, others huddle together in consolation by laying the flowers, one for each broken young life.

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Thailand nursery shooting: Distraught parents lay white roses

Some bow their heads in prayer, others huddle together in consolation by laying the flowers, one for each broken young life.

A devastated, crying mother hugs her dead son's favorite red and yellow blanket and his still half-full bottle of milk.

Outside the nursery, in a yellow-walled building of the local government in northeast Thailand, dozens of traumatized parents gathered.

Killer Panya Khamrab, recently dismissed from the police, killed at least 36 people, including 23 children at or near daycare, as well as his own wife and son, in his attack with a pistol and knife, one of the worst mass killings ever committed in the kingdom.

- "Incomprehensible" -

Some children were as young as two, like little Kamram, whose 19-year-old mother Panita is inconsolable. "It's incomprehensible" she sobbed, her 11-month-old daughter in her arms.

"He was very gentle, very kind, he always shared things with the children, with everyone," says the child's aunt, Naliwan Duangkot, who came to support her sister in the ordeal.

The day before the killing, "he had asked us for a pizza. We are so sad that we didn't buy it for him," Naliwan told AFP.

"His last night he was not well and he asked to sleep with his parents and his little sister," she added. "We do not accept that this was his last night."

The family was informed of the shooting by neighbors.

Panita and her husband then rushed to the scene on a motorbike, looking for Kamram, and learned the worst.

As the day goes on, in the muggy heat, more and more people gather at the crèche, forming a small rural community united in grief.

Where two days ago the children were playing happily, the adults now sit in shock, their disbelieving silence punctuated by tears.

"I was very shocked and scared. I couldn't sleep, I didn't think it would be my two grandsons," Buarai Tanontong, 51, the grandmother of two aged three, told AFP. years victims of the killer.

"Everyone knew the shooter. He was a police officer. He was a nice guy but later we all knew he was taking meth," said Kamjad Pra-intr, who came to support the families.

"It's a small community so we know each other and we're like a family, I know three or four children who died there," she adds.

At the hospital in Nong Bua Lam Phu, the nearest town, families of survivors took turns waiting in intensive care to visit their children or relatives, bringing food, diapers and other household items. first necessity.

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