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Friday, 2 June 2017

Tragedy in Philippines as dozens dead in Manila casino after gunman sets fire to tables

Smoke billows from the Resorts World building in Pasay City, Metro Manila, Philippines June 2, 2017



At least 36 bodies have been found after what appears to be a botched robbery at a casino in the Philippines, according to police.
Just after midnight on Friday local time, a man burst into the Resorts World building, which is near Manila's international airport.


He was carrying a rifle and shot at TV screens, set tables on fire and stuffed a bag with gambling chips.
Police in the country's capital said the man did not aim his assault rifle at people and appeared to just be interested in the robbery.
The gunman's actions caused a stampede as people tried desperately to escape the shooting and the smoke.
All of the people who died suffocated from the smoke, Manila's Metropolitan Police chief said.
At least 54 people were injured, according to initial reports.
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," he told a local radio station.
"Definitely us patrons, we did not expect that, everyone ran away."
Police later said the attacker was not thought to be a terrorist, despite continuing trouble with Islamic extremists in the country's south.
Instead, they confirmed he was instead a robber, who they described as tall, pale and English-speaking.
Manila's chief of police, Oscar Albayalde, 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, 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.
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."
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.

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