Thirty-six people have been killed in a Manila casino, following an attack in the early hours of Friday morning by a lone gunman who fired shots from an assault rifle and set fire to gambling tables.
The victims, who did not appear to have been shot, are thought to have died of suffocation, Southern Police District Director Superintendent Tomas Apolinario said Friday. “Most of the victims were women who were found dead inside the bathroom,” he added.
Thick smoke from fires set by the suspect delayed a search of the building, but officers later discovered them during clearing operations, National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) Director Oscar Albayalde said.
All of the bodies were found in Resort World Manila’s casino area, which was heavily carpeted and where all the windows were locked, he said. Another 54 people were injured.
Despite ongoing ISIS-affiliated militant activity in the southern Philippines island of Mindanao, authorities ruled out terrorism as the motive for the attack.
“This particular situation in Manila is not related in any way to a terrorist attack,” presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella told reporters.