Crying and clutching toys, traumatised relatives gathered at a child daycare centre in Thailand where a former policeman had slain 34 people, primarily children.
Government buildings flew flags at half-mast on Friday to mourn victims, in which 23 of them were children of the carnage in Uthai Sawan, a town 500 kilometres (310 miles) northeast of Bangkok, the capital of the predominantly Buddhist country.
After leaving the daycare centre, a pink, one-storey building surrounded by a lawn and small palm trees filled with dead, dying and wounded, the ex-officer went home and shot dead his wife and son before turning his weapon on himself.
Most children, aged between two and five years, were slashed to death, while adults were shot, police said in the aftermath of the worst child death tolls in a massacre by a single killer in recent history.
The aunt of a three-year-old boy, who died in the slaughter, held a stuffed dog and a toy tractor in her lap as she recounted how she had rushed to the scene when the news first spread.
“I came and I saw two bodies in front of the school and I immediately knew that my kid was already dead,’’ said Suwimon Sudfanpitak, 40, who had been looking after her nephew, Techin, while his parents worked in Bangkok.