Manila casino gunman was in debt and had gambling problem, police say

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Police say Jessie Carlos Javier, 42, carried out casino attack in Manila

Officials say gunman acted alone: 'This is the truth'

CNN —  

The lone gunman behind the casino attack that left 37 dead in Manila last week was in debt and had a gambling problem, Philippine police say.

Jessie Carlos Javier, a 42-year-old man from the Philippines, was identified as the suspect in last week’s attack in the Philippines capital, said Oscar Albayalde, police chief for the Manila area.

Carlos was separated from his wife and had been laid off from his job. Recently, he was banned from entering all casinos at the request of his wife, according to Southern Police District Chief Tomas Apolinario Jr.

Police believe Carlos, who died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, acted alone. ISIS had claimed responsibility for the attack Friday, but officials have repeatedly denied it was terror-related.

“This is the truth. This is all the truth,” Albayalde told reporters as authorities gave details of the lone assailant.

Philippine police have released these images of the heavily armed suspect in the Manila casino attack.
Philippines police/CNN Philippines
Philippine police have released these images of the heavily armed suspect in the Manila casino attack.

ISIS claimed that “Islamic State fighters carried out” the attack in a statement Friday by its Amaq News Agency. A follow-up statement from the group’s east Asia division referred to only one attacker – whom it named as Abou al-Kheir al-Arkhebieli – and boasted about the number of “Christians killed or wounded” before he “took his life.”

Early Friday, a gunman entered the Resorts World Manila, an upmarket hotel and casino complex near the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, firing shots from an assault rifle and setting fire to gambling tables.

How the attack unfolded

Most of the victims are believed to have died due to suffocation from the smoke.

The man ransacked a room and stole gaming chips, Philippine National Police Chief Ronald Dela Rosa said. He stuffed chips totaling 113 million pesos ($2.3 million) in a backpack, which police later recovered, he said.

The man ransacked a room and stole gaming chips, Philippine National Police Chief Ronald Dela Rosa said. He stuffed chips totaling 113 million pesos ($2.3 million) in a backpack, which police later recovered, he said.

During the attack, the gunman engaged in a firefight with casino employees, police said.

The attacker was shot and wounded by security guards, and retreated into a hotel room, where he doused a bed with gasoline and shot himself, according to Reilly.

The attacker was found dead around 7 a.m. local time, according to a statement from the resort.

CNN Philippines reported he was found in the room, burned beyond recognition, next to an automatic weapon and a .380-caliber pistol.

CNN’s Yuli Yang contributed to this report.