(UPDATED) Management says the cause of deaths is likely suffocation and that protocol dictated security personnel cannot have firearms
MOVING TO SAFETY. Guests of Resorts World Manila evacuate after an unknown gunmen opened fire and burned part of the casino, on June 2, 2017. Photo by Inoue Jaena/Rappler
MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Resorts World Manila Management confirmed Friday noon, June 2, that the shooting and arson at their premises claimed 35 lives – 22 guests and 13 employees. Their tally excluded the gunman.
Director Oscar Albayalde, National Capital Police Regional Office (NCRPO) chief, however, said in a Palace news briefing that a total of 37 people died in the incident, including the gunman, who killed himself. The others died because of suffocation, he said.
"It is with deep sadness that in addition to the 54 injured, there are 35 reported casualties from the tragic incident. Initial unconfirmed reports indicate that the deaths were caused by smoke inhalation," Chief Operating Officer Stephen Reilly said.
Reilly denied security lapses, saying that it is in their protocol that security personnel inside cannot have firearms.
"They did not engage because that would escalate the situation," he said. "Unfortunately, the situation did further escalate."
He also claimed that their fire safety equipment worked, but, Reilly said, "The issue we actually had was with smoke, not with fire."
He said that the victims should have evacuated while they could, but opted to seek shelter which caused them to be "overwhelmed by the smoke."
The families of the deceased and injured will be reached by the management as soon as SOCO confirms their identity. Reilly promised "full support and assistance".
This comes after an armed gunman, still unidentified as of press time, started shooting inside the casino of the integrated resort’s premises midnight of June 2. (READ: TIMELINE: Resorts World Manila shooting)
Of the bodies recovered, they said they identified 10 female and 12 male guests, and 10 female and 3 male employees.
In a statement, Resorts World said, "This is a sad day for Resorts World Manila. At approximately 12 midnight on June 2, 2017, a lone gunman barged into Resorts World Manila firing shots and setting gaming tables on fire."
It also said, "The Company’s security, together with police authorities, launched a hot pursuit and at around 7 a.m. this morning, the gunman was found dead. He had taken his own life by setting himself on fire followed by a self-inflicted gunshot wound. As of this time, the Company has extended medical assistance to the 54 individuals who were taken to nearby hospitals."
The Bureau of Fire Protection and the company’s security team are currently conducting "search and rescue operations on all floors," the statement said. – Rappler.com