Manila, June 2 (IANS) Thirty-six bodies were found on Friday in a casino in Philippines’ capital city Manila, after it was attacked by a lone gunman who fired shots and set fire to gambling tables, police said.
The attack took place in the early hours of Friday at the Resorts World Manila casino and hotel located in Newport City, a residential and commercial centre in metropolitan Manila.
The victims did not appear to have been shot but are thought to have died of suffocation,
Southern Police District Director Superintendent Tomas Apolinario said.
“Most of the victims were women who were found dead inside the bathroom,” CNN quoted Apolinario as saying.
Thick smoke from fires set by the suspect delayed a search of the building, but officers later discovered them during clearing operations, National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO)
Director Oscar Albayalde said.
All of the bodies were found in the resort’s casino area, which was heavily carpeted and where all the windows were locked, he said.
In a statement posted to its Facebook page, the resort said it had “extended medical assistance to the 54 individuals who were taken to nearby hospitals.”
The police have ruled out terrorism as the motive for the attack, CNN Philippines reported.
The armed suspect forced his way into the casino around midnight, according to witnesses and police.
A lone security guard panicked when she saw the suspect’s automatic rifle, Albayalde said.
Video showed guests frantically running for the exits, the sound of gunshots and smoke coming from the upper floors of buildings.
Hours later, the police confirmed the gunman had committed suicide by lighting himself on fire.
He was found in the room, burned beyond recognition, next to a machine gun and a .380 calibre pistol.
The attacker also ransacked a room and stole gaming chips, Philippines National Police Chief Ronald Dela Rosa told CNN Philippines.
He had stuffed chips totalling 113 million pesos ($2 million) in a backpack, but it was later recovered by police.
Dela Rosa added that the suspect appeared to be Caucasian and had a mustache.