The number of fatalities at the Resorts World Manila attack on early Friday has risen to 38, a ranking police official said.
“Victims who suffered suffocation already went to 37, plus the suspect, that makes the body count to 38,” National Capital Region chief PCSupt. Oscar Albayalde told reporters during a Palace briefing.
Albayalde said that most of the fatalities were found in the gaming area.
According to Inquirer, Resorts World Manila also issued a statement saying 38 were killed. It said “initial unconfirmed reports indicate that the deaths were caused by smoke inhalation.”
National Capital Region Police Office chief, Director Oscar Albayalde said the 38 fatalities include the gunman who was still unidentified. At least 54 others were brought to nearby hospitals after sustaining injuries.
Albayalde said those who died were in the casino’s main gaming area.
“What caused their deaths is the thick smoke,” he told reporters. “The room was carpeted and of course the tables, highly combustible.”
Albayalde said the “Caucasian-looking” male suspect barged into the casino carrying long firearms, shot an LED TV and then tried to ransack P113 million worth of chips from a casino storage room. He later committed suicide by setting himself on fire inside a room at the Maxims Hotel, police said.
Presidential Spokesman Ernesto Abella said there was no direct link to the shooting incident and the ongoing clashes between government forces and Maute rebels in Marawi City.
Police officials have ruled out terror motives, saying the man was operating alone, but eyewitnesses stand by their claim that they saw other gunmen inside the entertainment complex.