The Latest: Thick smoke had trapped dead in gambling space

AP News
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Posted: Jun 02, 2017 12:41 AM
The Latest: Thick smoke had trapped dead in gambling space

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — The Latest on an attack at a casino and hotel complex in the Philippines (all times local):

12:30 p.m.

The Metropolitan Manila police chief says thick smoke trapped people in the gambling area where a gunman set fires, causing the 36 deaths tallied in the attack.

Police chief Oscar Albayalde said Friday the gunman carried a 2 liter bottle of gasoline, the gambling area was carpeted and the tables were also made of combustible materials. He said investigators would check whether the sprinklers in the hotel worked. Albayalde said "the bodies were found in the gaming area of the casino."

He also said the gunman entered the building alone, based on security video. He says, "From the time he barged in and until the end, he was alone."

In addition to the 36 found dead in the casino, the gunman was later found dead and a South Korea victim died in the evacuation.

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12:15 p.m.

South Korea's Foreign Ministry says one South Korean has died after being evacuated from the Philippine casino stormed by a gunman.

The ministry said the South Korean victim suffered an apparent heart attack while resting after the evacuation early Friday. Three other South Koreans had light injuries from the stampede and smoke set off by the attack.

Casinos in the Philippines are popular with foreign gamblers.

The gunman started a fire by torching gambling tables and fled with gambling chips. He was found dead hours later of an apparent suicide.

The Metropolitan Manila police chief previously said 36 bodies were found inside the building by firefighters and all died from smoke inhalation.

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11:30 a.m.

Metropolitan Manila police chief Oscar Albayalde says 36 people suffocated from smoke after a gunman stormed into a casino-hotel complex and set fire to gambling tables before fleeing with a bag of casino chips.

The police chief says none of the dead bodies had gunshot wounds. Authorities earlier said they think robbery was the motive. The suspect was found dead early Friday of an apparent suicide and the gambling chips also were recovered.

The attack at the Resorts World Manila sent people panicking in the streets during the night. Dozens had minor injuries suffered during the stampede to escape.

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7:40 a.m.

Philippine police say the suspect in the attack on a hotel and casino complex near Manila's airport has been found dead of apparent suicide.

Metropolitan Manila police chief Oscar Albayalde says the English-speaking suspect was found dead with his rifle on the fifth floor of the Resorts World Manila complex. He says the gunman apparently killed himself.

Police are searching the suspect's car, parked on the second floor. Before the attack, he got out of the car and entered the building with his rifle.

Abayalde says the guards at the door ran away after seeing the armed man.

The suspect took 113 million pesos ($226,000) worth of gambling chips, which were found in a bag he was carrying.

Abayalde says there was no indication of terrorism. He says either the suspect lost in the casino and wanted to get his money back, or went "totally nuts."

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5 a.m.

The Philippine national police chief says robbery may have been a motive in the attack on a hotel and casino complex near Manila's airport

Gen. Ronald Dela Rosa says authorities have reviewed CCTV footage from the scene and the lone gunman "was not hurting anyone."

He said it seemed like the gunman was focused on the gambling table and stealing chips.

Dela Rosa said there was no immediate indication of terrorism. He said the gunman, who is still at large, would have shot all the people gambling if terror had been the motive.

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4:30 a.m.

The Philippine national police chief says there is no concrete evidence that the attack on a hotel and casino complex near Manila's airport is terrorism.

Gen. Ronald Dela Rosa said one gunman is believed to be behind the attack early Friday and is still at large.

Dela Rosa told reporters at the scene that the gunman stole gambling chips, shot an LED monitor and set ablaze gambling tables by pouring gasoline on them. But Dela Rosa says the assailant did not fire at people he met.

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3:55 a.m.

President Donald Trump is offering the thoughts and prayers of the American people to those impacted by an attack at a tourist resort in the Philippines.

Trump said Thursday that "It is really very sad as to what's going on throughout the world with terror."

Speaking in the White House Rose Garden, Trump said he is "closely monitoring the situation" and will continue to provide updates.

Gunshots and explosions rang out early Friday at a mall, casino and hotel complex near Manila's international airport in the Philippine capital, sparking a security alarm amid an ongoing Muslim militant siege in the country's south.

Trump says, "Our thoughts and our prayers and with all of those affected."

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2:52 a.m.

U.S. President Donald Trump is receiving updates from his national security team about developments following an attack on a tourist resort in the Philippines.

White House spokesman Sean Spicer tweeted that "@POTUS is aware of the situation in Manila and being provided updates by his national security team."

Witnesses say gunshots and explosions have been heard at a mall, casino and hotel complex near Manila's international airport in the Philippine capital.

No word yet on whether any Americans were in the area at the time of the early Friday morning attack there.

Spicer's tweet came as Trump prepared to announce his decision to withdraw from the Paris climate change accord.

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2:34 a.m.

Witnesses say gunshots and explosions have been heard at a mall, casino and hotel complex near Manila's international airport in the Philippine capital.

Philippine police rushed to the Resorts World Manila complex early Friday after gunshots rang out at the complex, where smoke began billowing from the upper floor of the building.

Philippine policemen have not given details about the incident but have begun cordoning off the area near the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.