MANILA, Philippines (5th UPDATE) – Police on Sunday, June 4, identified the suspect in the attack at Resorts World Manila as a former employee of the Department of Finance (DOF) who is "heavily in debt" due to casino gambling.
The lone gunman was identified as Jessie Carlos, 42 years old, said National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) Director Oscar Albayalde in a press conference at the Remington Hotel – part of the Resorts World complex – on Sunday.
Carlos was previously assigned to the DOF's "One Stop Shop" office. He was discharged from his post for issues related to his Statement of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth (SALN).
His identity was confirmed early Sunday morning by his estranged wife and his parents, according to the NCRPO chief. His parents and wife were at the press conference.
Albayalde said Carlos, a resident of Sta Cruz, Manila, was "heavily in debt" due to casino gambling.
Carlos – identified as a "high roller" who usually placed a minimum bet of P40,000 – is said to have P4 million in debt with banks, plus an undisclosed amount of non-bank-related debts, due to his gambling problem.
He also sold his car and a family property in Batangas to finance his gambling addiction.
Just last April 3, Carlos, who was said to be a regular at other casinos but not at Resorts World, was barred from entering all casinos by the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor) upon request of next-of-kin, Albayalde said. (READ: FAST FACTS: What you need to know about Resorts World Manila)
A 2014 press release from the DOF's Revenue Integrity Protection Service (RIPS) identified a "Jessie Javier Carlos" as a Tax Specialist of the One Stop Shop Tax Credit and Duty Drawback Center.
The RIPS press release said the employee was dismissed from service by the Ombudsman "for failure to disclose truthfully all his assets" in his SALN.
Not mentally ill
Photo by LeAnne Jazul/Rappler
Carlos' father Fernando confirmed his son was in financial trouble but that Carlos was not mentally ill. He also said they do not know where the gun used came from.
Albayalde again emphasized that the suspect acted alone, and that the incident is not terror-related.
"We also reiterate our prior statements that this is not an act of terrorism but this incident is confined to the act of one man alone as we have always said," he said.
"We have and will continue to base our pronouncements on facts and evidence properly gathered. We will not allow people or any threat group to use this situation to advance their propaganda or personal causes whether foreign or local," Albayalde added.
He added that this closes the terror angle in the probe of the incident. (WATCH: Rappler Talk: Raffy Alunan on Resorts World Manila attack and terrorism)
Carlos' mother Teodora asked for forgiveness from the families of the victims of the attack, saying that their family is also a victim in the incident. (READ: From relief to despair: Brother of Resorts World victim recalls fretful wait)
The police also presented to the media the gasoline boy who sold to the suspect the 3 liters of gasoline used in burning parts of the hotel-casino, as well as the taxi driver who drove Carlos there.
The now-identified gunman stormed into the high-end casino complex in Pasay City past midnight last Friday, June 2, with an M4 automatic rifle and a bottle of gasoline, firing shots and setting gaming tables ablaze. (READ: Palace suspects negligence by Resorts World Manila)
The smoke from the fires caused 36 people to die and dozens more were injured in a stampede to escape. Carlos was found dead about 5 hours later in a hotel room after committing suicide by setting fire to himself, police said. (READ: Officials contradict each other on Resorts World Manila attack) – with a report from Agence France-Presse / Rappler.com