The attack on Resorts World Manila was a robbery and not terrorism, a former U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation attaché to Manila said Friday.
Steve Cutler, chairman of the Overseas Security Advisory Council, said on ANC that there’s no indication of terrorism in the attack that killed 38 people and injured 67 others Friday morning.
“We have someone who shot up property, could have easily killed many people with a firearm, such as what the terrorists did in Mumbai, India a few years ago when they took over a hotel, and he didn’t. So I agree with the police in this,” he said.
Cutler said the gunman killing himself in a hotel room and preventing the flames from spreading out is another indication that he was not a terrorist.
“A suicide terrorist would have been trying to take out other people. He would not go into a room privately and killed himself,” he said.
Cutler speculated that the gunman was “desperate” and could have been in debt, which was why he tried to rob the casino.
“It may well be that we’ll find out that he’s very very desperate to the breaking point for some kind of debt or something like that and thought that this was the only way out of it,” he said.
The ex-FBI agent added that firefighting and fire escape procedures should be revisited.
“When I ask these questions I’m not being critical, but where were the fire exits in an active shooter type situation as this was? Wouldn’t it have been better to go out of the fire exits instead of seeking shelter inside of a ladies room where most of the bodies were found because of the toxic smoke?” he said.
Cutler said the casino’s security forces “did pretty good work” with the Philippine National Police but that they should practice and learn how to handle such emergencies.
“What I hope is that we can work with the guard forces to help them to practice and learn how to deal with these major events that are rare but cost lives when they’re not handled correctly,” he said.