Panic erupted at a popular hotel resort near Manila’s Ninoy Aquino International Airport after a gunman allegedly opened fire inside the casino of the establishment.
Raw footage from the scene showed bloodied people being brought out in stretchers from Resorts World Manila in Pasay City, Philippines.
“Some jumped out from escalators and the second floor to get out,” one of the hotel’s employees wrote on a social media post. “We were few of the remaining people who [got] out of the vicinity. I can only imagine how the rest felt.”
At least 30 people were confirmed injured in the reported shooting at the popular tourist hotspot which started at about midnight local time. Witnesses have described the attack as a “two-hour” barrage of gunfire.
Soon after the news broke out, ISIS claimed responsibility, but Philippine police chief Ronald Dela Rosa has stated that there was no evidence that the attack was indeed done by the terror group, ABS-CBN reports.
While some witnesses reported that there were “armed masked men” entering the building’s casino, local authorities indicated that the attack was carried out by just a lone gunman.
“Don’t panic, this is not a cause for alarm. We cannot attribute this to terrorism,” Dela Rosa was quoted as saying. “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 shooter, described by police as a 6-foot tall, foreign-looking Caucasian with a mustache, was seen pouring gasoline onto the gambling tables.
The police reportedly recovered the suspect’s bag filled with casino chips worth at least at least 113 million Pesos ($2.2 million).
“We have not yet accounted all the injuries, [but] they are all minor injuries caused by the stampede,” said the police chief.
PNP-National Capital Region spokesman Chief Inspector Kimberly Molitas said in a statement that the gunman has been identified and relayed news that some people may have died due to suffocation.
“Please help pray for the injured and the loss of lives due to suffocation. We have zero visibility at makapal pa rin usok sa (there is still thick smoke emanating) floors so we have to be very careful with every move. We see no terrorism in this act,” Molitas said.
Four hours after initial reports of the attack, Dela Rosa confirmed that the Resorts World gunman was dead as he was being interviewed by phone on a local news program, according to Rappler.
Metro Manila’s police chief Oscar Albayalde told ABS-CBN that the gunman was likely “addicted to gambling” who “went crazy.”