Philippine Cops: Casino Attacker Was Indebted Gambler

Dismiss ISIS' claims that Friday attack was terror-related
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 4, 2017 6:03 AM CDT

(Newser) – The lone suspect behind a deadly attack on a casino and shopping complex in Manila was a heavily indebted Filipino gambling addict, police said Sunday, bolstering their claim that the assault was not terrorism-related. The man's family confirmed his identity as Jessie Carlos—a married father of three and former Finance Department employee who owed more than $80,000, reports the AP. The revelations confirm "this is not an act of terrorism," Manila police chief Oscar Albayalde said, calling it "the act of one man alone." ISIS claimed responsibility for Friday's attack on Resorts World Manila, where 37 patrons and employees died, mostly from smoke inhalation as they tried to hide in a VIP room on the second floor. But authorities rejected the militants' claim, saying there is no evidence and pointing out that the assailant shot no civilians during the two-hour ordeal despite being heavily armed.

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On Sunday, Carlos' father told reporters that his son had no connections to terrorism. Carlos' distraught mother wept and asked for forgiveness. "We can't accept ourselves that my son became like this, he was a very kind son," she said. "The message of what happened to my son is people should not get hooked on gambling so their families won't get destroyed." Albayalde said that Carlos had sold off property, including a vehicle, to support his gambling habit of at least several years. His family had grown so concerned, they had asked casinos in the capital to ban him since April 3. In 2014, Philippine newspapers reported that Carlos was fired from his job at the government's Finance Department "for grave misconduct and neglect of duty." As a result, he was banned from government employment and his retirement benefits were forfeited. (Read more Philippines stories.)

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