'At least 34 dead' in gunman attack on Philippines casino

The scene outside the casino last night. Picture: Getty Images

At least 34 people are dead after a gunman opened fire in a Manila casino in the Philippines.

Police said the man’s motive was most likely robbery and were unwilling to link the incident to terrorism. The gunman’s body was found at dawn in a hotel room in the casino.

“He burned himself inside the hotel room 510,” National police chief Ronald dela Rosa told a media conference. “He lay down on the bed, covered himself in a thick blanket and apparently doused himself in gasoline.”

When news of the shooting broke, US President Donald Trump called it a “terrorist attack” and said it was “really very sad as to what’s going on throughout the world with terror”.

“Our thoughts and our prayers are with all of those affected,” he told a media group as he prepared to announce his plan to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement.

The Philippine Bureau of Fire Protection sent out an alert with the death toll standing at 34 this morning. At least another 54 people were injured by the gunman, who was described as a “tall, foreign-looking” man with a moustache.

The man reportedly shot at gambling machines and set tables on fire. Police believe a large number of the casualties were due to the fire and the rush to get out of the building.

It has been reported IS claimed responsibility for the attack, but dela Rosa said the gunman didn’t appear to be firing at people.

“He didn’t hurt anyone,” dela Rosa said. “Those who were injured got their injuries when they jumped from the windows.”

The gunman had chips worth 113 million pesos ($3 million) stuffed into a backpack.

A presidential spokesman later confirmed most of the fatalities were caused by suffocation.

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.