A gunman killed 38 people, including himself, in a northeastern Thailand town on Thursday, in what is the Southeast Asian country’s deadliest mass shooting to date

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Police said the mass shooting and knifing began at a children’s daycare center, in Na Klang district of Nong Bua Lamphu, early in the afternoon

According to officials, 38 people including the gunman died as a result of the attack, that includes 24 children

The attacker, a former police officer, was armed with a shotgun, a pistol, and a knife when he forced his way into the center around 12:30 p.m. local time and opened fire

The Associated Press reported earlier that 19 boys, three girls, and two adults were among those killed in the building, according to a police statement

In photos and videos of the scene that were posted online, one room in the daycare center was seen covered in blood and scattered with sleeping mats

The publication added that in the background of videos, family members outside the center could be heard weeping as emergency services gathered on scene

A witness reportedly told that the center’s door had been locked when the attacker was seen approaching with a handgun but he used the weapon to shoot through it