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A former policeman killed 37 people, including 22 children, during a knife and gun rampage at a daycare centre in Thailand on Thursday (October6), later shooting dead his wife and child at their home before turning his weapon on himself, police said.

In one of the world's worst child death tolls in a massacre by a single killer in recent history, most of the children who died in Uthai Sawan, a town 500 km (310 miles) northeast of Bangkok, were stabbed to death, police said.

"He was in the middle of reloading the gun. I held my hands up and begged for mercy. I didn't know what to do," said an unnamed witness.

"Because he's a parent of one of the kids (who goes to the daycare), at first, I thought he was coming to pick up his kids," said another witness.

They identified the attacker as a former member of the force who was dismissed from his post last year over drug allegations and he was facing trial on a drugs charge.

The man had been in court earlier in the day and had then gone to the daycare centre to collect his child, according to police chief Damrongsak Kittiprapas.

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