MANILA, Philippines (CBSNewYork/CBS News) — Relatives Friday were rushing to funeral homes to claim the bodies of victims who police said died after a gunman attacked a casino in Manila, setting fire to gambling tables.
Officials say the dead include at least 13 employees and 22 guests of the Resorts World Manila.
Filipino police say the mayhem began around 1:30 a.m. local time when the gunman stormed the massive casino-hotel complex. Loud explosions could be heard and then smoke.
“Employees and guests just suddenly rushed out of the building,” one witness said. “Some of them jumped from the second floor just to escape.”
The alleged gunman was captured on surveillance video, seen armed with what appears to be a high-powered weapon in a stairwell of the casino.
Metropolitan Manila police chief Oscar Albayalde said the suspect set fire to gambling tables, firing off rounds before fleeing with more than $2 million worth of casino chips.
At least 35 people were killed. All died from smoke inhalation and suffocation, the chief said. Dozens of others were injured trying to escape.
Officials say members of the hotel’s security team were able to shoot the gunman, slowing him down. The gunman, they say, then went into a room where he took his own life.
While there were a claim that the attack was done by “lone wolf soldiers” of the Islamic State, Secretary Ernesto Abella, Philippine presidential spokesperson, said the initial findings “show that there are no indications of terrorist activity.”
“All indications point to a criminal act by an apparently emotionally disturbed individual,” Abella said.
Police also noted that the suspect didn’t shoot anyone he encountered, CBS News reported.
“Either he lost in the casino and wanted to recoup his losses or he went totally nuts,” said Albayalde.
Meanwhile, relatives of those believed to be dead are devastated as they wait for news. Many are also now questioning the security measures inside.
“We believe that our security measures were enough,” said Stephen Reilly with Resorts World Manila. “They will be reviewed. At this time, we have more important things to look at and that’s the security of our staff and the patrons of the building.”
President Donald Trump said he was “closely monitoring the situation” and would continue to provide updates, CBS News reported.