Update: Terrorism has been ruled out by police authorities in the recent Resorts World Manila attack citing the incident to be caused by a “derranged individual.” The death toll has already risen to 38 casualties, CNN Philippines reports. The deaths of these individuals, identified to be Resorts World employees and guests, were caused by suffocation from the smoke when the gunman lit the carpet on fire. Bereaved friends and relatives have posted messages in the fatalities’ facebook profiles recalling good memories, saying goodbye, or expressing disbelief in their sudden passing.
The gunman at the recent Resorts World Manila attack was reported to have committed suicide, Manila Police Office Chief Oscar Albayalde said in a radio interview on Friday. Based on the police assessment, the attacker burned himself. It can be noted that photos and videos of the chaos in the popular tourist complex that happened at midnight have gone viral on Facebook and Twitter. Eyewitnesses have initially reported seeing gunmen but the police have corrected this, saying only one person is behind the gunfire. Authorities, at first, did not discount the idea of terrorism but eventually dispensed the idea.
Philippine National Police Chief Ronald Dela Rosa addressed the public concern and told media that it was a robbery attempt. He said that the police cannot attribute it to terrorism. “There was an absence of violence dahil (because) the lone gunman did not shoot an innocent person.” The police chief also further explained the angle of robbery.
“We are looking into a robbery angle because he did not hurt any people and went straight to the casino chips storage room. 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.”
The culprit, according to reports of CNN Philippines, has stolen 113 million pesos ($2.2 million) worth of gaming chips from the casino. He was captured on CCTV footage wearing black with a rifle at hand. Dela Rosa detailed that the gunman forced entry into Resorts World Manila and created a ruckus.
Guests and employees at the tourist complex began to disperse and tried to leave the area when shots were heard from the second floor. The noise alarmed the people which led to a stampede causing people to get hurt. There were at least 30 people who have been injured and one man with a gunshot wound. But initially, there were no reports of anyone getting killed during the attack.
With the gunfire incident, Ninoy Aquino International Airport ‘s Terminal 1, 2, 3, and 4 have all been put in a lockdown to secure the safety of the people. The international airport is situated just across Resorts World Manila. Checkpoints have also been set-up in a municipality of Metro Manila, Quezon City, under the directive of Police District Director Guillermo Eleazar. All 12 stations under his cluster were ordered to “maximize police visibility,” CNN Philippines reports. The police director has also asked for the public’s cooperation to help stop spreading false and unverified reports. He also reminded everyone to always stay calm.
It can be recalled that recent incident at Marawi City, with the Philippine Army fighting against ISIS-linked local terrorists, has prompted President Rodrigo Duterte to put the city and the entire island of Mindanao in a state of martial law. The declaration and the war against terrorism in the country have been proven to be of international interest with the news making headlines all over the world. And now with the incident at Resorts World Manila, the country has been put in the spotlight again.
News of the gunfire incident has also reached the White House and U.S. President Donald Trump called it a terror attack. CNN Philippines shared that the U.S. president expressed his sympathies by saying his thoughts and prayers go out to the people affected by the incident in Manila. However, Philippine authorities have dismissed the idea of terrorism shortly after he addressed it as a terror attack as there are no concrete pieces of evidence linking it to terrorism. National security adviser H.R. McMaster gave the briefing of the Resorts World Manila attack to President Trump. He declined to answer, though, whether the incident was referred to as a terrorist attack. President Trump said they are closely monitoring the incident.
[Featured Image by Bullit Marquez/AP Images]