Manila bus hostage-taking ends with 9 dead

A hostage-taking in Manila, Philippines — in which a former policeman held 15 tourists on a bus — has ended with nine people dead, including the gunman.
Police commandos assault a bus in a hostage-taking incident at Quirino Grandstand in Manila in the Philippines on Monday. The incident began when a fired former Filipino policeman held 15 Hong Kong tourists hostage aboard the bus. ((Erik de Castro/Reuters))

A hostage-taking in Manila, Philippines — in which a former policeman held 15 tourists on a bus — has ended with nine people dead, including the gunman.

Police surrounded and entered the bus Monday, and television footage showed four people leaving it.

The driver of the bus that was commandeered by a gunman in Manila with 15 hostages, runs from the vehicles after he escaped on Monday. ((Cheryl Ravelo/Assocatied Press))

One body could be seen being taken off the bus.

The Associated Press later reported that Manila hospitals indicated seven out of the 15 hostages had died.

Freelance reporter Dean Bernardo said the gunman — who was indentified as former senior inspector Rolando Mendoza, 55 — was shot and killed by a police sniper.

Earlier, police said the driver of the bus, who escaped before police officers surrounded the bus, had indicated the gunman had opened fire on the tourists. The bus driver said the gunman was armed with an M16 rifle.

Police shot out the tires of the bus and then smashed the side windows, door and windshield of the bus. The police tried to board it, but they backed off after shots were fired from inside the vehicle.

The daylong standoff in the Philippine capital began when the gunman, in an apparent attempt to get his job back, commandeered the bus, which had aboard mainly tourists from Hong Kong. The gunman initially released nine of his hostages, but kept another 15 on the bus.

Newspaper reports from 2008 indicated that Mendonza was among five police officers charged with robbery, extortion and grave threats. The charges were laid after a hotel chef in Manila complained that officers had falsely accused him of using drugs in order to extort money from him.