ONE of the victims in last week’s bloody hostage-taking incident confirmed that slain Police Senior Inspector Rolando Mendoza directly fired at the victims, police said Monday.

In a text message to Sun.Star, Philippine National Police (PNP) spokesman Agrimero Cruz Jr. quoted survivor Chan Kwok Chu Joe saying that Mendoza used an assault rifle to shoot the victims at the head.

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“Chan’s detailed account of the incident bolstered initial findings of forensic investigators that Mendoza fired at least 59 shots inside the bus as indicated by recovered empty cartridge cases," said Cruz

“According to Chan, Mendoza treated the hostages violently,” he added, noting that the gunman made sure that every bullet was targeted at the head of each hostage.

Cruz said Chan’s firsthand account dismissed speculations that some hostages may have been shot by responding Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team.

“Chan described how he and four other male hostages attempted to subdue the suspect but were not successful when Mendoza evaded the attack and directed his weapon on them instantly killing three male hostages," he pointed out.

“Chan said he tried to shield himself from Mendoza’s gunfire using a bagful of bottled water but the bullets penetrated and nearly severed his arms,” he added.

Cruz said 58 of the 65 spent shells recovered from the bus were traced to Mendoza’s M-16 rifle while the origin of the remaining seven spent shells has yet to be identified.

He also related to Sun.Star that Senior Police Officer 2 Gregorio Mendoza, the brother of the slain hostage-taker, has been properly charged for conspiracy.

The government said it will release the full report of the investigation in three weeks as the PNP allowed the Hong Kong police to examine the tourist bus in a warehouse in Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City.

Cruz said the Hong Kong Team is headed by detective Chief Inspectors Larry Wan and Steve Lee. (Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)