CNN reports that a total of 37 people have been killed at the Resorts World Casino and Hotel in the Philippines after a lone gunman forced his way into the casino around midnight local time (Thursday ET), shooting TV screens with an assault rifle and setting gambling tables ablaze by pouring gasoline on them.

The news agency reports that Southern Police District Director Superintendent Tomas Apolinario said the victims did not appear to have sustained gunshot fire and are thought to have died from suffocation. Apolinario said, “Most of the victims were women who were found dead inside the bathroom.”

Authorities reportedly said earlier that 35 people had been found dead at Resorts World Manila in the casino area after a lone gunman fired shots and set fire to gaming tables early Friday morning. CNN Philippines was reportedly told by local police that two more bodies were found in the hotel, but whether they were employees or hotel guests was not mentioned. Search of the building was reportedly delayed due to thick smoke resulting from fires set by the suspect, but the bodies of the two deceased were later discovered by officers during clearing operations, according to Oscar Albayalde, the Director of the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO).

CNN reports that Albayalde said all of the victims were found in the casino area of Resort World Manila. Reportedly, more than 20 of the people killed were resort guests and 13 of the victims were staff. Upwards of  70 people were injured. The gunman later killed himself.

Terrorism was reportedly ruled out by authorities as the motive for the attack, despite ongoing ISIS-affiliated militant activity on the southern Philippines island of Mindanao. CNN reports that presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella told reporters, “This particular situation in Manila is not related in any way to a terrorist attack.” Meanwhile, reporters were told by Manila police chief Albayalde that they think the suspect was likely a foreigner. “He looks Caucasian, he talks English, he’s big and he’s white, so he’s probably a foreigner,” he said.

However, in a statement late Friday (local time, from its Amaq media wing, ISIS claimed responsibility. The statement, according to CNN, said “Islamic State fighters” carried out the attack.
According to CNN, security footage viewed by local police indicates that the attacker entered the casino via the parking lot, walking directly into the building, past one security guard who, according to Albayalde, panicked when she saw the automatic rifle the suspect was carrying. Stephen Reilly, the resort’s Chief Operating Officer, said that guards situated at the perimeter of the complex are the only part of security that is armed. Weapons are not carried by internal security officers and they did not attempt to engage the suspect for fear that the situation would escalate, according to the CNN report.
Early Friday, Philippines National Police Chief Ronald Dela Rosa reportedly said the suspect ransacked a room, stealing casino chips totaling 113 million pesos ($2.3 million) and stuffing them into a backpack, which was later recovered by police. The gunman reportedly engaged in a “firefight” with casino employees during the incident, Apolinario confirmed. Reilly said, security guards shot and wounded the attacker, who then retreated into the hotel room, eventually killing himself there.
A statement from Resorts World Manila confirms the gunman was found dead at approximately 7 am local time. The statement read, “He had taken his own life by setting himself on fire followed by a self-inflicted gunshot wound,” reports CNN. According to the report, the gunman’s car was later searched by police at which time registration information was found, which they have yet to make public.
Death toll rises at Resorts World Manila in the Philippines was last modified: June 5th, 2017 by K Morrison


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