Manila attack: 36 Dead, 70 Injured In Philippines Casino Fire

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Thursday, at midnight, a gunman set fire to the gambling tables in a casino in the Philippines. This created smoke that was choking and killed at least 36 people. Before leaving the premises the gunman stuffed his bag with casino chips. The gunman was however found dead in the next door hotel room in an apparent suicide.

Oscar Albayalde, the Metropolitan Manila Police chief, said the bodies were recovered from smoke filled rooms. It has been reported that all of them had died from smoke inhalation and suffocation. All the bodies were free of gunshot wounds. Most of those present in the casino ran outdoors as soon as the fire started.

The casino, located at Resorts World Manila complex said this attack was claimed by terrorists. However, the police said that there was no evidence to support this claim. The incident occurred in sync with the violence in Marawi, where the government had a fight with the Islamic State terrorists since a week.

Ronald de la Rosa, the National Police Chief said “He would have shot all the people gambling there if it had been terrorism. But he did not hurt anyone.” Albayalde said that “It’s either he lost in the casino and wanted to recoup his losses or he went totally nuts.” He also said that there was no connection to fighting in Marawi and is this was just a robbery gone bad.

Rosa said that according to CCTV footage, the gunman ignored the guards, went directly to the table, stole gambling chips, shot all the TV screens and then set fire to the tables by pouring gasoline on them. Rosa also said the accused had not fired at any of the peopls of the hotel or the visitors that he encountered.

Apart from 36 dead, 70 people suffered minor injuries. Reports also state that the gunman barged into the room on 5th floor of the Maxims Hotel, which is connected to the casino, dumped the chips worth $2,26,000 in the washroom. He then poured gasoline onto the blanket, rolled himself into a burrito and set himself on fire. The suspect had no ID cards on him but was an English speaking man.

The police said this attack cannot be linked to terrorism without solid evidence.

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