Friday 18 August 2017

Casino killer was angry over his gambling debts

Police chief Oscar Albayalde holds up a picture of gunman Jessie Javier Carlos as the killer’s devastated parents Fernando and Teodora sit beside him. Photo: Romeo Ranoco
Police chief Oscar Albayalde holds up a picture of gunman Jessie Javier Carlos as the killer’s devastated parents Fernando and Teodora sit beside him. Photo: Romeo Ranoco

Todd Pitman

The lone suspect behind a deadly attack on a casino in Manila was a heavily indebted Filipino gambling addict, police said, bolstering their claim that the assault was not terrorism.

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 (€70,000).

Manila police chief Oscar Albayalde said: "This incident is confined to the act of one man alone as we have always said."

Isil had 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 one of the casino's VIP rooms on the second floor.

But authorities have rejected the militants' claim, saying there is no evidence to back it and pointing out that the assailant shot no civilians during the two-hour ordeal despite being heavily armed.

The Philippines has faced a Muslim insurgency in the country's south for decades, and Manila has been on edge since government forces began battling Islamic militants who besieged the southern city of Marawi.

Gunman Jessie Carlos sets a gambling table on fire in the casino before walking away. Photo: AP
Gunman Jessie Carlos sets a gambling table on fire in the casino before walking away. Photo: AP

Carlos' father said yesterday his son had no connections to terrorism. Carlos' distraught mother Teodora wept and asked for forgiveness.

"We're asking for your apology. We can't accept ourselves that my son became like this, he was a very kind son," she said. "He chose to end his life rather than ... 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," she said.

Carlos' wife was also brought before reporters. She was so distressed, she entered in a wheelchair and kept her head, hidden by a cream-coloured towel, down on a desk as she sat beside the police.

Police said 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 from entering since April 3.

The breakthrough in efforts to identify him came when investigators traced his path to the casino from a Manila suburb where he had hailed a taxi after midnight on Thursday.

Irish Independent

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