A gunman who stormed a luxury resort in the Philippine capital Manila in an apparent robbery attempt has burned himself to death, Philippine police said.
“Our assessment is he burned himself. He committed suicide,” Oscar Albayalde, chief of Manila’s police office, said in a radio interview, Reuters reported. Police also released photos of the suspect.
The Philippines’ police chief Ronald dela Rosa earlier described the suspect as “foreign-looking, a Caucasian, about six feet tall,” and said the shooting was likely a case of armed robbery rather than terrorism. Albayalde echoed those comments, telling ABS-CBN that the gunman was likely a gambling addict rather than a terrorist.
“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,” Dela Rosa said earlier, adding that a bag filled with casino chips was later recovered by police.
The casino’s chief operating officer Stephen Reilly told local media it wasn’t known how the gunman was able to breach security protocols.
Resorts World Manila said in a statement on Facebook that 30 individuals were taken to hospitals for medical attention.
Large numbers of police massed outside as smoke rose from the complex, a Reuters witness said. The complex is close to Terminal Three of Ninoy Aquino International Airport and an air force base.
WATCH: Security increased outside Manila resort after suspected armed robbery
Video on social media showed hotel guests streaming from entrances of the resort around 1 a.m. Friday local time, although police asked people not to post photos online.
WATCH: Smoke seen rising from site of attack at Manila hotel
Silva said he saw a SWAT member who was shouting “I was hit, I was hit.”
Smoke was still seen rising about the resorts as of 5:40 a.m. Manila time.
The Philippines has been on heightened alert amid a crisis in the south of the country, where troops have been battling Islamist rebels since May 23. President Rodrigo Duterte declared martial law on the southern island of Mindanao last week.
Duterte has said he fears Islamic State‘s “terrible ideology” will spread on Mindanao, an island of 22 million people, and has warned it could become a haven for supporters fleeing Iraq and Syria.
As news of the Manila attack spread, U.S. President Donald Trump offered thoughts and prayers to the Philippines.
“It is really very sad as to what’s going on throughout the world with terror,” he said from the White House. Trump added the U.S. is “closely monitoring the situation.”
WATCH: President Trump ‘closely monitoring’ situation in Manila
Resorts World Manila’s website bills the sprawling property as the Philippines’ “first one stop, nonstop integrated tourist destination.”
– With files from Reuters
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