MANILA: Thirty-six bodies were found inside a casino in the Philippine capital on Friday after a masked man burst in with an automatic rifle and set fire to the building, triggering fears of a terrorist attack, police said.
Dozens of other people were injured in a stampede as people rushed to leave Resorts World Manila, which is across a road from the Philippines’ main international airport, after the man fired what police chief Ronald dela Rosa said was an M4 assault rifle and set alight parts of a gaming room about midnight.
The body of the gunman was found in a hotel room inside the complex about five hours later, Dela Rosa said.
He said the gunman only fired at a television screen and did not take aim at any people, but police later reported finding 36 bodies in the casino who apparently died from smoke inhalation.
“Thirty-six deaths, this is due to suffocation,” Manila police chief Oscar Albayalde told CNN Philippines.
The gunman initially disappeared into the chaos of smoke and running people, leading to a manhunt throughout the complex that ended just after dawn when he was found dead in a hotel room, according to Dela Rosa.
“He lay down on the bed, covered himself with a thick blanket, apparently poured petrol on the blanket and burned himself,” Dela Rosa said.