Philippine police say casino attacker was indebted gambler

The gunman at the Resorts World Manila complex in Manila is pictured on surveillance footage sitting on a staircase.

During the attack, the gunman engaged in a firefight with casino employees, police said.

The Philippines has faced Muslim uprisings for decades, though much of the violence has occurred in the troubled south. The ISIS terrorist group also tried claiming responsibility for the shooting, but authorities believe evidence suggests otherwise.

Almost all of the 37 people who were killed had taken refuge in a small room in the VIP section of the casino and died from smoke inhalation, Albayalde said.

Many in Manila feared Friday's attack was linked to ongoing battles with militants aligned with the Islamic State group in the southern Philippine city of Marawi.

At a press conference on Sunday regarding the attack, National Capital Region Police Office Chief Oscar Albayalde said: "This could have probably triggered him, which is why he was so angry at the casinos".

He forced his way into a room where casino chips were stored, and stuffed his bag with chips worth 113 million pesos. The CCTV video shows how the robbery attempt went down.

In the incident that unfolded just after midnight on Friday, Carlos first stole PHP113 million (US$2.27 million) in gambling chips from a storage room before firing gunshots in the casino and setting tables on fire. People were breaking windows in order to escape the smoke, but 37 people did not make it out alive. Guests inside the casino fled in a panic to the exits. He ran into a hotel room on the fifth floor, set fire to the room and shot himself, the police said.

Carlos father said he does not know where his son got the M4 assault rifle and caliber.380 pistol used in the rampage. His parents and wife were at the press conference.

"They talked about how surprised they were that their son was involved in the attack and that Jesse was recently separated from his wife and three children". "He chose to end his life rather than. kill people".

"He is heavily indebted due to being hooked to casino gambling".

The man responsible for the deadly Manila casino attack was a heavily-indebted Filipino hooked on gambling, police have said.

The finance department said Sunday that Carlos was sacked as a tax specialist in 2014 for not declaring properties and for taking mysterious loans far more than a bank would lend. His family had grown so concerned that they asked the casinos to ban the man. He owed more than $80,000, Albayalde said. Philippine officials reject the ISIS connection and have stated it was not an act of terrorism.

Video footage shown to reporters Saturday bolstered the government's case that this was a botched robbery by a lone attacker with no political motives.

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