MANILA, Philippines – Some victims in a botched hostage rescue of a tourist bus in the Philippines may have been hit by police fire, the nation's top law enforcement official said Thursday.
Eight tourists from Hong Kong were killed and three seriously wounded after a fired policeman hijacked their bus on Aug. 23 to demand his job back. The hostage-taker was also killed when police stormed the bus after a standoff that dragged on for hours on live television around the world.
Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said bullet trajectories and the hostages' wounds indicate that some of the passengers may have been hit by "friendly fire." She did not say, however, whether any of the shots fired by police were fatal and added that investigators will await a complete ballistics report before drawing any final conclusions.
The new details of the investigation emerged as Philippines President Benigno Aquino III said he's through apologizing for the attack and will focus instead on easing tensions with China and Hong Kong, where officials have criticized the handling of the daylong crisis.