By MB Online
Thirty-six bodies of victims who supposedly died of suffocation and smoke inhalation were recovered from the gaming room of Resorts World Manila, according to police authorities.
A lone gunman stormed a casino in Pasay City shortly after midnight armed with a baby armalite, fired at the stock room of chips, carted away with P113 million worth of it, and was later found dead inside one of the hotel’s rooms on Friday morning.
Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa said they are not considering terrorism as the motive behind the shooting that happened at Resorts World Manila (RW) since the gunman, whom he described as Caucasian and tall, did not fire at people but only at the chips stockroom.
The suspect also started a fire inside the RW which as of press time was still razing at the 2nd and 3rd floors.
At least 54 individuals were hurt when they jumped for safety after the gunman started firing at the chips stockroom and brought to hospitals in the area for immediate treatment. Some 18 of those brought to the hospitals needed to be confined.
Police operatives were clearing the hotel floors from the 1st level to the 9th when they spotted the gunman who dashed from the 5th floor down to the 2nd floor. The gunman then ran back to the 5th floor, holed himself up inside room No. 510 and set the room on fire. He was found dead by operatives, burned beyond recognition.
“This is not an act of terror. There was no element of violence or threat,” De la Rosa said.
The PNP Chief said it is possible that the suspect needed money badly and could have lost a lot in the casino. The suspect reportedly placed millions worth of chips inside his backpack.
The gunman, described as six-foot tall, foreign-looking with a mustache, had managed to elude police forces for nearly six hours before he locked himself inside Room 510.
Dela Rosa said the suspect covered himself with blanket, used gasoline to torch himself.
All indications point to robbery and not terrorism, according to Dela Rosa.
Dela Rosa said the suspect did not hurt anyone after forcing his way into the hotel, clutching a rifle and a hand gun.
The gunman shot television screens, torched the gambling tables and went into the storage room to get P113 million worth of casino chips, according to the police chief.
A security guard also suffered a gunshot wound after accidentally shooting himself, according to Dela Rosa.
The suspect has yet to be identified, but Dela Rosa believes he may have lost a lot of money and has gone crazy.
He managed to evade capture despite the clearing operation that led police operatives up to the ninth floor.
Dela Rosa said the suspect was finally found with the help of closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras.
The gunman climbed from the second floor and entered the room.
“He would have shot all the people gambling there” if it had been terrorism, said Dela Rosa. “But he did not hurt anyone.”
Dela Rosa said CCTV footage showed the gunman ignoring a security guard who tried to question him at the entrance to the complex. He did not hurt the guard but went straight to the gambling area, dela Rosa said.
Ronald Romualdo, a maintenance worker at Resorts World, said he and his colleagues heard gunshots and saw people smashing the windows on the second floor and third floor to escape.
“We took out a ladder to save them. We were able to save many of them,” he said. “But one woman I was trying to save fell from the second floor. … I could not carry her. She was not moving and was probably dead.
“I got her bag so her family will know what happened to her,” he said. “I don’t know if she is still there.”
US President Donald Trump was quick to react to the RW shooting incident.
“I would like to begin by addressing the terrorist attack in Manila. We are closely monitoring the situation. I will continue to give updates. It is really sad with what’s going on throughout the world with terror. Our prayers go to all of those affected,” US President Donald Trump told a White House press briefing. (With reports from AP)
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