Thailand killer: Police depict a man suffering from job loss

The killer (Panya Khamrap) 

Thailand killer: Police depict a man suffering from job loss, money, and family problems

 The ex-cop who carried out a killing spree in a Thai nursery school quickly rose through the ranks of the capital's police force before his relocation to the provinces led to his drug use. Police said he had abruptly halted his career.

A clear motive for Thursday's attack has not yet been determined.

But police said their initial investigation indicated Banya Khamrab was deeply troubled by marital problems and money after he was fired from the service in January after he admitted to using two forms of methamphetamine.

"He wanted to vent. We learned from his mother that he was arguing with his wife on the day of the accident," local police chief Chakrapat Wichitvidya told Reuters.

"Maybe he wanted to do something bad."

Colleagues in the local police force said he was sometimes bad-tempered and violent while working there.

Police said Banya, 34, was restless as he entered the daycare center on Thursday and was armed with a pistol and a large curved knife.

Witnesses described how he went on a two-hour frenzy, killing 22 children between the ages of 2 and 5 during their afternoon naps, shooting passers-by, and driving people in his car.

In all, 24 children were killed among the 38 deaths. Banya's latest victim was his wife and child before he pointed his 9mm pistol at himself at his home in a village 3 kilometers (1.9 miles) from the nursery.

It was one of the world's worst child deaths in a single-person massacre in recent history.

Hours before the massacre, Banya appeared in court on drug charges. Police said he then went to the nursery school to look for his son, who did not show up that day.

It was not clear if Banya was still using the drugs. National Police Chief Damrongsak Kitipravhat said on Friday that the autopsy report indicated it was not used on the day of the attack.

"We see the disagreement with his wife as the main issue," Damrongsak said. "They had long-standing problems."

Perhaps the reasons are unemployment, lack of money, and family issues.

According to his police record, Banya started his career in Bangkok and worked in two different police precincts in the city's commercial heart.

During his time in the capital, he was appointed corporal, then corporal, before being promoted to sergeant in 2019.

Local police told Reuters that Banya's behavior changed after moving to Nong Bua Lumpur's northeastern province.

Local police said, citing fellow officers who said he quarreled with colleagues, who were aware of drug use, Banya kept to himself but was sometimes very angry and violent.

On Thursday, local television interviewed a woman described as the killer's mother, resulting in her face being obscured in front of the camera and her name being withheld to protect her identity, which Reuters could not independently verify.

She said her son's behavior changed when he sacrificed his life in Bangkok to care for her in the countryside.

"He started using drugs when he moved here after staying in Bangkok for six years. He moved here to take care of me," she told Channel Three.

"He did drugs and didn't sell them. He was buying them."

About her reaction when she learned of the outburst of her son's murder, she said, "I fainted. I felt so sad."

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