Thirty-six bodies have been found inside Resorts World Manila, after an attack by a lone gunman who fired shots and set fire to gambling tables in the early hours of Friday morning.
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 the resort’s casino area, which was heavily carpeted and where all the windows were locked, he said.
Manila police chief Oscar Albayalde told reporters that police think it is likely that the suspect was a foreigner.
“He looks Caucasian, he talks English, he’s big and he’s white, so he’s probably a foreigner,” he said.
The attacker later committed suicide, police said.
How the attack unfolded
The armed suspect forced his way into the Resorts World Manila casino around midnight local time (Thursday ET), according to witnesses and police.
Witness: ‘I could smell some kind of smoke’
Airport locked down
Conflict in the south
Duterte also suggested he might extend martial law through year’s end or impose it nationwide, alarming critics. On Friday, Dela Rosa ruled out declaring martial law on the main island of Luzon, where Manila is located.