Monchai owns a stone mill in the sub-district of Uthai Sawan, Nong Bua Lamphu, where the massacre took place.
The assailant, later identified as a former policeman, murdered dozens of people at the nursery and surrounding areas. Most of them were young children sleeping inside the childcare centre when he broke in with weapons and went on a killing spree.
The youngest victim was three years old.
“It wasn’t clear at that time what was happening, so I thought while the situation was still volatile, the (primary school) students should come to my place as it would be definitely be safe for them,” said Monchai.
Together with his wife and two employees, he rushed to the school in two four-wheel drives. They chose a route largely unknown even among locals, that leads to the back of the school but with terrain that is rough and difficult to navigate.
“There are two routes to the school. One is rough and requires a four-wheel drive. The other one is actually fine too but there were chances that we would run into the perpetrator,” Monchai explained.
“So, I chose the back route, which is rough and requires a four-wheel drive, because I know for sure how to manage that.”