Police identify gunman in Manila casino attack

Armeen Gomez, second from left, chief security officer of Resort World Manila, points to the cctv footage where private guards engaged the gunman in a firefight as they play a video of the gunman who stormed the casino and hotel complex at a news conference on Saturday, June 3, 2017 in suburban Pasay city, southeast of Manila, Philippines.

The lone gunman, Jesse Carlos, 42, who had been employed by the Finance Department, was carrying a large bag with him as he made his way into the Resorts World Manila casino and resort. Carlos had been employed by the Finance Department as a tax specialist, but was sacked "over questions about his assets and liabilities".

Carlos owed some 4 million pesos or ($81,000, 71,000 euros) in gambling debts, according to the police chief.

He was banned from casinos in April by the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor) at his family's request to try and curb his gambling addiction. He later doused his bed with gasoline and shot himself to death in the hotel room he retreated.

He wasn't identified until two days later, after police interviewed the taxi driver who had picked him up near his home in the San Lazaro neighborhood of Manila and driven him to the casino.

"This became the cause of misunderstanding with his wife and parents", Albayalde said as he sat alongside Carlos's parents and wife at a press conference announcing the gunman's identity.

On Saturday, President Rodrigo Duterte said that the attack was "not the work of the IS".

He barged into the casino, set ablaze gaming tables, slot machines and a dining area.

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.

In a press statement in 2014, the DoF said Mr. Carlos, a tax specialist at its One-Stop Shop Inter-agency Tax Credit and Duty Drawback Center, was dismissed by the Office of the Ombudsman after it was found that he did not disclose all his assets in his Statement of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth (SALN). One of the statements also said the attacker "died as a martyr" - which would not make sense if he shot himself in an evacuated hotel room at the end of the night, as the police claim.

Albayalde said the terrorist angle should now be discarded as investigators have established that Carlos was not a member of any terror group. "We will not allow people or any threat group to use this situation to advance their propaganda or personal causes whether foreign or local", he added.

Teodora Carlos, Javier's mother told CNN Philippines that her son was a "good person" and that he had changed when he started going to casinos. Militants allied with Islamic State have been fighting Philippine troops in the country's south for almost two weeks, leaving more than 100 people dead. He said that ISIS was "more cruel, brutal".

  • Jon Douglas