After bitter confusion over the identity of the Manila gunman who created havoc at the Resorts World Manila, one of the biggest casinos in the Philippines’ capital, it has been revealed that he was a former employee of the tax department. The man who had come to end his economic woes by taking control of the money at the casino and then fleeing the scene caused the death of dozens of people before committing suicide later.
Initially, despite Philippine government’s reluctance, there was a near unanimity among the international media to brand the attacker as Muslim belonging to Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). For an entire day this narrative was presented to viewers. But later, police officials first clarified that it was not an attack by a group of terrorist and that there was only one person involved.
It was only after around two days that it became clear that the attacker didn’t actually kill a single person at the Resorts World manila by the semi-automatic rifle that he was carrying. Reports suggest that 36 people were killed by the fire that got ignited in the course of shooting that took place between the attacker and security guards at the Manila casino.
Officials have now identified the attacker as Jessie Carlos Javier, a 42-year-old man from the Philippines. Oscar Albayalde, the Manila area police chief told the media that 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.
Oscar Albayalde, while talking to reporters said, “This is the truth. This is all the truth”. 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. Most of the victims are believed to have died due to suffocation from the smoke.
Authorities claim that Jessie Carlos Javier burgled into a room and stole gaming chips, stuffing chips totaling 113 million pesos ($2.3 million) in a backpack, which police later recovered. Carlos was shot and wounded by security guards, and retreated into a hotel room, where he doused a bed with gasoline and shot himself, police said. He was found dead around 7 a.m. local time, according to a statement from the resort.
In the meantime, important details about the attacker and his background have come out, making it clear that manila Casino attacker was neither Muslim not ISIS terrorist. Philippines Finance Ministry officials claim that Carlos’ civil service eligibility was also cancelled, his retirement benefits forfeited and he was perpetually disqualified from reemployment in the government. The suspect has three children, but was separated from his wife. The police have ruled out that the attack was terror related. “On this note, we also reiterate our prior statements that this is not an act of terrorism,” the police officer said, adding that it was a case of a botched robbery.
He has been accused of fraud and of embezzling disproportionate income. A report according to the CNN Philippines, Jessie Carlos “was sued by the DoF in 2011 for unexplained wealth, Ombudsman rejected his motion for reconsideration in 2014.The CCTV footage released by authorities showed the gunman setting gambling tables ablaze as he moved throughout the resort. CNN reported that most of the dead were found in the casino’s VIP room. The videos show a painstakingly methodical attack as the shooter gets out of a taxi and strolls calmly inside the casino. “Shortly afterward, he dons a black ski mask, slips on an ammunition vest and pulls an M4 carbine assault rifle out of his backpack,” reports Bloomberg.
On the other hand, Carlos’ mother and father joined authorities at the June 3 press conference to request forgiveness for their son’s actions. According to Bloomberg, Carlos’ mother, Teodora, wept as she said, “We’re asking for your apology. We can’t accept ourselves that my son became like this, he was a very kind son. He chose to end his life than kill and kill people. The message of what happened to my son is people should not get hooked on gambling so their families won’t get destroyed.” Carlos’ wife had recognized him from the surveillance footage that was released but was afraid, reported CNN.