The identity of the lone gunman who attacked Resorts World Manila, and set fires early Friday morning, June 2, that resulted in the deaths of 36, has been identified, and police in the Philippines have also established the motive for the attack. 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. The bag contained an automatic rifle.
According to a previous report by CDA News, the attack on Resorts World Manila was not an act of terrorism, as United States President Donald Trump initially claimed, in a tweet. Carlos shot his automatic rifle into the air, but did not shot anyone in the casino. Some gamblers there were injured when they jumped from windows, attempting to escape, and the 36 people who were killed reportedly died from smoke inhalation, from fires that Carlos set.
The Washington Post reported that, according to police in the Philippines, Carlos was a Filipino who was addicted to gambling and was heavily indebted. He tried to steal over a million dollars worth of casino chips, in a botched robbery attempt. When the police closed in on him, Carlos instead wound up in a room on the hotel’s fifth floor and committed suicide.
Police chief Oscar Albayalde stated that the suspect’s family confirmed his identity. The Strait Times reported that Albayalde said Carlos’ family said he had been hooked on gambling and was in debt by at least four million pesos, the U.S. equivalent of $111,897.
Because of being indebted, Albayalde said in April, Carlos was banned from all of the casinos in Manila. He was forced to sell his Ford Ranger pickup truck to help pay for his debts. Carlos had been employed by the Finance Department as a tax specialist, but was fired “over questions about his assets and liabilities.”
Authorities in the Philippines had earlier stated that the attack on Resorts World Manila and deaths of the 36 victims was not the work of the Islamic State group, even before the identity of the gunman was established.
Earlier on June 2, ISIS claimed it was behind the attack on Resorts World Manila. However, on Saturday, June 3, President Rodrigo Duterte went on record stating the attack was not the work of ISIS. He said that ISIS was “more cruel, brutal.”
On Saturday, officials at the casino and resort released CCTV footage proving Carlos had acted alone and that the attack was a robbery attempt that went wrong. He had on a black jacket when he was dropped off at the casino on Friday at 12:07 a.m. by a taxi. Carlos also carried with him a large bag.
Carlos took an elevator to the second floor, and put a ski mask over his face. When he got out of the elevator, Carlos sidestepped around a body scanner and made his way into the casino.
A female guard at Resorts World Manila ran after him, to ask what he was doing there. Carlos then took out an M4 assault rifle from his bag. Guests inside the casino fled in a panic to the exits.
Carlos set fire to some of the gaming tables as well as a dining area and some slot machines. The suspect fired his rifle into the air, and a few minutes later, he can be seen in the CCTV footage firing at the doorknob of a room where the casino chips were stored. He stuffed his bag with casino chips worth 113 million pesos.
Carlos exchanged gunfire with a couple of hotel guards in the basement of the hotel. Later footage shows him with blood on his face. He forced his way into Room 510, where minutes later, police and hotel security found him inside the room, underneath covers he had set on fire, with the tip of his M4 rifle pointed towards his mouth.
Early on Sunday morning, local time in Manila, the family of a lone gunman who attacked Resorts World Manila, resulting in the deaths of 36 guests, identified the man as Jesse Carlos, 42. His motive was established as needing money because he was addicted to gambling and was heavily in debt. He wanted to rob the casino and get enough money or chips to pay off his debts, but the robbery was botched, and the fires he set killed 36 people due to smoke inhalation. Carlos is survived by his wife, a son and two daughters.
By John Samuels
Photo Courtesy PNP PIO