Jeeran’s three-year-old granddaughter was sleeping in his house on Thursday (Oct 6) afternoon, just like several other children her age who were having a nap in a nursery nearby.
His granddaughter had been feeling unwell for a few days and therefore could not join her friends at the daycare centre.
It was due to this twist of fate that the young girl narrowly avoided an atrocious terror attack where a former policeman – armed with a gun and a knife – killed and injured dozens in the remote neighbourhood of Nong Bua Lamphu, north-eastern Thailand.
Most of the fatalities were young children, with the youngest aged only three.
After attacking the nursery, the assailant fled the scene in a pick-up truck. He then killed and hurt more victims as he drove to his house, where he shot himself to death after killing his wife and child.
A total of 36 victims lost their lives and ten people suffered injuries.
The tragedy on Thursday shocked the whole nation, where a terror attack of this nature is uncommon.
“I AM SO SHAKEN”
Jeeran, 53, lives with his wife and granddaughter. Their house is located only a few metres from the nursery, where his granddaughter usually goes to play and learn.
“I am so shaken. I feel so sad for the kids,” said Jeeran, a farmer.
“I know the victims’ parents because they all live around here,” he told CNA.
“This should never have happened. I have lived more than 50 years. I had never experienced anything like this. I heard the gunshots but I thought they were firecrackers.”
According to Nong Bua Lamphu Hospital, 24 victims died at the nursery. Seven others were killed nearby and five more died at the hospital. Seven people remain hospitalised as of Friday.
Outside the childcare facility, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha laid a bouquet of flowers to mourn the loss of innocent lives.
He expressed his condolences and affirmed support for the victims’ relatives who had gathered there and provided them with financial assistance from various governmental units.
“I am deeply sorry from the bottom of my heart,” Prayut told the relatives on Friday afternoon. “The government and I are very sorry, and so are the people of Thailand.”
The king and queen of Thailand are scheduled to visit the survivors and the victims’ families in Nong Bua Lamphu on Friday night.