A heavily indebted former employee of the Philippines’ finance department was behind the attack on a casino complex that killed 37 people two days ago, police said Sunday.
The suspect, Jessie Carlos, a 43-year-old father-of-three, had a gambling problem and was dismissed from the Department of Finance in 2014 for failing to accurately disclose his assets and liabilities, said Director Oscar Albayalde, chief of the Manila police force.
“This is not an act of terrorism but this incident is confined to the act of one man alone as we have always said,” Albayalde told a press conference with the man’s wife and parents.
“We have and will continue to base our pronouncements on facts and evidence properly gathered,” he added.
“We will not allow people or any threat group to use this situation to advance their propaganda or personal causes whether foreign or local.”
The Islamic State terrorist movement had claimed the attack on Resorts World Manila on Friday was carried out by a jihadist with the nom de guerre Abu al-Kheir of the Archipelago, suggesting he was from the Philippines.
But even President Rodrigo Duterte doubted the claim, saying, “The work of the ISIS is more cruel and brutal. They will kill people for nothing, not even for a reason.”
The suspect, who killed himself after the attack at Resorts World, owed at least 4 million pesos (80,000 dollars) in credit card debts and had recently sold his pick-up truck due to financial constraints, Albayalde said.
“He is heavily indebted due to being hooked in casino gambling according to his immediate family,” he added.
“This became the cause of misunderstanding with his wife and parents.”
In security footage released by Resorts World, the suspect was seen arriving at the entertainment complex in a taxi. His M4 rifle was hidden in a backpack where he also had bottles of either gasoline or kerosene.
He was then seen taking a lift to the second floor, where he took out his rifle as he bypassed a security check at the entrance and began shooting at ceilings and walls on the way to the gaming area.
The suspect torched gaming tables, slot machines and carpets before going to the storage room where casino chips were kept.
He stashed 113 million pesos worth of chips into his backpack.
Thirty-seven people died of suffocation due to the thick smoke from the fire that the suspect started.
Among the victims were the wife of a lawmaker and six foreigners, including three from Taiwan and one from South Korea.
More than 12,000 people were at the complex during the attack, according to Resorts World.
The suspect was found dead in a room in a hotel adjacent to the casino building, burned beyond recognition and with a gunshot wound to the head.(dpa/NAN)