Deadly casino attack 'English-speaking' gunman caught on CCTV

Police say it was not a terrorist act, adding: "He could have shot everybody there, but he did not shoot anybody."

Deadly casino attack 'English-speaking' gunman caught on CCTV

Update 1.30pm: The gunman in a deadly casino rampage in the Philippines was seen on security camera footage firing his M4 rifle in the air, setting fires and shooting at security forces during an attack that killed 38 people.

The man stormed into the Resorts World Manila complex and used petrol to torch gambling tables before fleeing to an adjoining hotel where he killed himself. The victims appeared to have died of smoke inhalation as they hid from the gunman, police said.

At a news conference on Saturday, authorities showed the security footage to the media and said the gunman's identity was still unknown.

Police described him as an English-speaking man in his 40s, 6ft tall and armed with an assault rifle.

The taxi driver who dropped the man off at the casino said the man also spoke fluent Tagalog and appeared normal during the ride, said Manila police chief Oscar Albayalde.

He said terrorism was unlikely because the gunman did not shoot anyone.

"He could have shot everybody there," Albayalde said. "You see he was even changing magazines, he changed magazines at least three times.

"With all that ammunition, he could have killed hundreds of people inside that establishment. But he did not shoot anybody ... he just burned the casino. Burning the casino could be a diversionary tactic for his escape."

National Police Chief Ronald dela Rosa also said the attack did not appear to be terrorism, but he cautioned that authorities still know very little about the attacker.

"What if we establish the identity and there are leads that will lead toward terrorism? So our findings, our conclusion, will possibly change," he told DZMM radio.

Luchie Arguelles, 61, was playing the slots at around 12.10am on Friday when she saw the man enter the room.

"(He was) all dressed in black, burly, everything was covered, you can't even see his eyes," said Arguelles, who was about 30ft from the gunman. She said he was holding two small bottles of liquid and dousing the baccarat table.

"I said, 'He's going to burn that table, he's going to douse it,'" before she grabbed her husband's hand and started running.

The attack sent hundreds of people fleeing through the complex and into the night. More than 70 people suffered mostly minor injuries in the stampede to escape.

Earlier:

Police in the Philippines are questioning a taxi driver who may have details about the suspect in a casino attack in Manila that left at least 38 people dead.

The Islamic State (IS) group has claimed responsibility for the rampage early on Friday but authorities say it was a botched robbery by a single gunman with no links to terrorism.

The man stormed into the Resorts World Manila complex and used petrol to torch gambling tables.

This image made from CCTV made available by the Philippine National Police shows the gunman at the Resorts World Manila complex in Manila, Philippines.
This image made from CCTV made available by the Philippine National Police shows the gunman at the Resorts World Manila complex in Manila, Philippines.

Manila police chief Oscar Alabayade. The gunman fled to an adjoining hotel and killed himself.

Many in Manila feared after the attack began that it was linked to ongoing battles with Muslim militants aligned with IS in the southern city of Marawi.

The fighting has placed much of the country on edge and raised fears IS was gaining a foothold.

The Philippines has faced Muslim insurgencies for decades, though much of the violence has occurred in the troubled south.

There has been concern the militants might attack elsewhere to divert the focus of thousands of troops trying to quell the siege in Marawi.

Police were emphatic that there were no links to terrorism in Friday's attack.

On Saturday, Mr Alabayade said police were questioning the taxi driver who dropped the suspect off at the casino.

"We have the taxi driver who could probably identify him," Mr Alabayade said.

The attack occurred at a sprawling mall-like complex near the Manila airport that includes hotels, restaurants, stores and a multi-floor gambling area.

Police said that during the attack the man stole more than $2m of casino chips, though he apparently abandoned them in a toilet.

As the gunman left, he exchanged fire with a building guard who managed to shoot him in the leg after being wounded, police and casino officials said.

"Severe blood loss from the gunshot wound significantly slowed the assailant down and resulted in his holing up in a room where he took his own life," said Stephen Reilly, Resort World's chief operating officer.

The attack sent hundreds of people fleeing through the complex and into the night.

A South Korean died of a possible heart attack suffered during the evacuation, the Foreign Ministry in Seoul said.

More than 70 people suffered mostly minor injuries in the stampede to escape.

- AP

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