Dead as Gunman Sets Fire in Philippines Casino

03 June, 2017, 02:16 | Author: Essie Rivera

The gunman committed suicide inside a hotel room by immolating himself about five hours after storming the casino with an M4 assault rifle and a bottle of gasoline that he used to start the fire, Philippine National Police Director-General Ronald dela Rosa said.

After attempting to flee with the casino's gambling chips, the gunman left the casino to a room in an adjoining hotel, where he holed himself up before taking his own life, Resorts World COO Stephen Reilly said in a presser conference on Thursday.

Resorts World Manila had been placed on lockdown early Friday morning following reports of gunfire.

But several reports now say that a fighter of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) was responsible for the attack, a claim that Hermogenes Esperon, the national security adviser, dismissed as "plain and simple propaganda".

The attack sent hundreds of people fleeing into the night outside the Resorts World Manila complex and produced a claim of terrorism that police stressed had no evidence to support it.

"Definitely us patrons, we did not expect that, everyone ran away".

Manila police Chief Oscar Albayalde told reporters that police think it is likely that the suspect was a foreigner.

A separate statement from the hotel management said security personnel from the resort shot and wounded the attacker. Albayalde said the suspect shot a television set and set tables alight but did not shoot any person, which indicated that he did not have an intention to kill anyone and was not a terrorist.

Maricel Navarro, a manager at the resort, said her partner of seven years, Hazel Yongco, was among the dead.

(AP Photo/Aaron Favila). Police watch smoke from a hotel at the Resorts World Manila complex, early Friday, June 2, 2017, in Manila, Philippines.

An additional 70 people or more suffered mostly minor injuries in the stampede to escape.

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The gunman also set gaming tables on fire and filled a backpack with gambling chips worth 113m Philippine pesos (£1.7m, $2.3m).

"We are looking into a robbery angle because he did not hurt any people and went straight to the casino chips storage room, Dela Rosa told reporters, "He parked at the second floor and barged into the casino, shooting large TV screens and poured gasoline on a table setting it on fire".

Police were examining a auto that the gunman left in a complex parking garage, authorities said.

A masked gunman was on the second floor of one hotel, firing at guests, hotel employees fleeing the scene told CNN Philippines.

Government officials blamed the incident on an "emotionally disturbed individual", who tried to carry out a robbery, by shooting at TV screens and setting on fire properties inside Resorts World Manila casino, suffocating numerous victims.

A Resorts World official said the dead included 22 guests.

"Siguro panahon po siguro 'yung ipairal ang ating pagmamahal sa bayan, a sense of patriotism; that we aim to build and to bring people together instead of trying to separate".

Dela Rosa said there was no immediate indication of terrorism.

"The safety and security of US citizens overseas is one of our highest priorities".

Earlier, U.S. President Donald Trump said Washington was closely monitoring what he described as a "terrorist" attack unfolding in Manila.

The Palace official said that at times like this, people should show unity and love for country. "We were able to save many of them", he said.

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