Nine dead as hostage crisis ends in shootout
A C Grayling
A. C. Grayling is an English philosopher and founder of independent undergraduate college, New College of the Humanities. He is the author of several books including The Refutation of Scepticism (1985), The Meaning of Things (2001) and The Good Book (2011).
Tuesday 24 August 2010
A day of high drama in the Philippine capital, Manila, ended in bloodshed after a disgruntled former policeman shot dead eight Hong Kong tourists and was himself killed by police commandos who stormed the bus he had commandeered.
The victims were among 25 people – 20 tourists, a Hong Kong tour guide and four Filipinos, including the driver and a local guide – who boarded the bus yesterday morning. In Manila's historic walled city, Intramuros, they were joined by Senior Inspector Rolando Mendoza, who hitched a lift.
When the bus reached the sprawling Rizal Park, near Manila Bay, Mr Mendoza, 55, produced an M16 assault rifle and announced he was taking the passengers hostage. As police attempted to negotiate with him, he stuck a handwritten note on the door, stating that a "big deal" would take place after 3pm (7am GMT).
The deadline passed without incident, and six Hong Kong nationals and three Filipinos, mainly women and children, were released in two stages. However, Mr Mendoza – reportedly sacked following allegations of robbery and extortion against him and four other officers – demanded his job back before letting the rest go free.
The road inside the park was cordoned off, and several ambulances and a fire engine waited nearby. As negotiators spoke to Mr Mendoza through the driver's window, the hostages drew back the bus curtains and peered outside.
As the temperature rose on a swelteringly hot day, the gunman's state of mind deteriorated. Shots rang out, and the driver managed to run to safety. He told police that Mr Mendoza had opened fire on the tourists.
Police commandos, who had shot out the tyres to immobilise the bus, surrounded it and smashed the side windows, door and windscreen with hammers. They tried to enter, but retreated amid another volley of gunshots.
For much of the day, Mr Mendoza had appeared quite calm, requesting food for the passengers and fuel to keep the air conditioning running. Mr Mendoza's brother, Gregorio, told a local television station that Rolando was upset at losing his job. "He was unjustly removed from service. There was no due process, no hearing, no complaint. He was dismissed for a crime he did not do."
On scraps of paper stuck to the bus door and windscreen, Mr Mendoza vented his grievances. "BIG MISTAKE TO CORRECT A BIG WRONG DECISION," stated one. "RELEASE FINAL DECISION," stated another, adding what appeared to be details of his case. In a live telephone interview with a local radio station, Mr Mendoza threatened to kill the remaining hostages.
At least four of the tourists crawled out through the back door as police finally stormed the bus, 11 hours after the drama began. "The hostage-taker was killed," said Police Colonel Nelson Yabut. "He chose to shoot it out with our men. On our first assault, [he] was sprawled in the middle of the aisle and shot one of our operatives. On our second assault, we killed him."
- 1 Germanwings crash: Police make 'significant discovery' at home of co-pilot Andreas Lubitz
- 3 Zayn Malik already working on solo material, just days after quitting One Direction
- 4 The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
- 5 #FreeTheNipple: Women in Iceland bare breasts in solidarity with trolled student
Zayn Malik gives first interview since quitting One Direction: 'I've never felt more in control of my life'
Germanwings crash: Police make 'significant discovery' at home of co-pilot Andreas Lubitz
Germanwings captain Patrick Sondenheimer tried to break into locked cockpit door 'with an axe' as plane was descending
Saudi Arabia says it won't rule out building nuclear weapons
#FreeTheNipple: Women in Iceland bare breasts in solidarity with trolled student
Nigel Farage brands LGBT activists 'filth' and 'scum' and accuses them of scaring away his children after they invade his local pub
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
JK Rowling responds to fan tweeting she 'can't see' Dumbledore being gay
Russia threatens Denmark with nuclear weapons if it tries to join Nato defence shield
Jeremy Clarkson sacked live: Alan Yentob 'wouldn't rule out' ex Top Gear host's BBC return
Germanwings plane crash live: Andreas Guenter Lubitz intentionally crashed flight 9525 into the Alps in act of mass murder and suicide – latest
£32000 - £38000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful accountancy practice in...
£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped commission: SThree: Does earning a 6 figu...
£18000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...
£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A challenging opportunity for a...