Friday, 2 June 2017

Dozens die in botched Manila casino robbery as gunman sets tables on fire



At least 35 people have died after a gunman stormed a casino in the Philippines in what police believe was a botched robbery.
 
A man carrying a rifle burst into the Resorts World building near Manila's international airport and shot at TV screens, set tables on fire with petrol and stuffed a bag with gambling chips.


Police said he did not aim the weapon at people and appeared to just be interested in money.


There was a stampede as people tried desperately to escape the shooting and the smoke. All of the people who died suffocated from smoke, police said.


Officials said the attacker was not thought to be a terrorist, despite continuing trouble with Islamic extremists in the country's south.


He was described as tall, pale and English-speaking.


Oscar Albayalde, Manila's chief of police, said: "It's either he lost in the casino and wanted to recoup his losses or he went totally nuts."


Police said the gunman, who initially escaped the scene after his attack just after midnight local time on Friday, had gone into a room at the Maxims hotel, which is connected to the casino, and set himself on fire on the bed.


A bag of gambling chips worth around £175,000 was found in the toilet.

At least 70 people were injured.


Police said they were looking at a "person of interest", in addition to the dead robber, adding that he was a Philippine national but omitting to give any other details.


Jeri Ann Santiago, who works in the emergency room at San Juan de Dios hospital, said patients were suffering from smoke inhalation and some had injuries such as fractures but none had gunshot wounds.


Jeff Santos, who was a guest at the casino, said: "Even the security personnel panicked.


"Maybe because of the heavy firearm, they can't put up a fight so they prioritised life and safety.


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


Resort owner Travellers International Hotel Group Inc said in a statement: "We have been informed of several casualties, the number and identities of whom have yet to be determined."





SKY      News.