Police refuse to disclose identity of Resorts World gunman; cite ongoing investigation

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, June 3) — The gunman who attacked Resorts World Manila hotel and casino has been identified by police; but his identity is being kept a secret.

Southern Police District Director Tomas Apolinario told CNN Philippines, the suspect's identity could not be disclosed yet as investigations are still ongoing. Apolinario added that the suspect's identity is crucial in finding out his real motive.

Thirty-eight people, including the gunman, died in the incident. The attacker had managed to evade a police SWAT team but was shot and wounded by a security guard. According to Resorts World Manila Chief Operating Officer Stephen Reilly, the gunshot wound slowed down the gunman.

READ: Resorts World Manila: Timeline of a deadly incident

Later, the suspect holed up in a room at a hotel next to the casino, and committed suicide. According to police, the suspect wrapped himself in a gasoline-soaked blanket and set it alight; he also shot himself in the head. Later, police found his charred remains.

Apolinario told reporters that the gunman acted alone, as seen on the hotel's CCTV footage, despite claims made by witnesses that there was more than one attacker.

The police earlier said most of the 37 employees and guests likely suffocated from thick smoke, resulting from several fires set by the gunman.

Meanwhile, police and firemen are conducting clearing and retrieval operations in Resorts World Manila, scouring the establishment for possibly more bodies of trapped guests or employees. In case more fatalities are found,  their remains would be brought to either Veronica or Rizal funeral homes in Pasay City.

Forensic teams from the Philippine National Police and National Bureau of Investigation will conduct the autopsies.

Meanwhile, shopping mall retailer Megaworld Lifestyle Malls said in a statement that the Newport Mall at Resorts World will be closed for a "seven-day mourning period as we pay our respects to the casualties of the recent tragic incident."

"We are also working hard to completely restore normalcy and will renovate our facilities at the soonest possible time, while ensuring everyone's safety," the statement added.

Other establishments like restaurants and hotels near Resorts World Manila remain open.

"Lone wolf" attack?

In a separate statement, House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez disclosed that Elizabeth Panlilio Gonzales, wife of Pampanga Representative Aurelio Gonzales, was one of the victims who died in the attack.

"We express our profound sorrow that innocent people, including Mrs. Gonzales, lost their lives in this unspeakable tragedy. But we should not let this instill fear among the citizenry," Alvarez said.

READ: 'Not terrorism': Resorts World Manila death toll rises to 38

While authorities have already dismissed terrorism as the motive for the crime, Alvarez said otherwise.

"At this point, I disagree with the conclusion reached by law enforcement authorities that the Resorts World incident was not a terrorist act but rather a criminal case of armed robbery and arson," Alvarez said.

"This is a clear example of a 'lone wolf' terrorist attack targeting civilians to inflict maximum loss of life and damage to property, as what has happened in other countries," he added.

The House Speaker also called on the police, military, and business establishments to put up the highest level of security measures across the country to protect the people.

CNN Philippines' Rex Remitio and Ver Marcelo contributed to this report.