Brazilian man mistakenly killed by police was shot eight times

Brazilian man mistakenly killed by anti-terrorist police was shot eight times, Britain's Independent Police Complaints Commission said today.

An inquest opened today into the death of electrician Jean Charles de Menezes, 27, shot dead inside a subway station on Friday by officers who mistook him for a potential suicide bomber.

A spokeswoman for the police complaints commission, which has taken over the investigation into Menezes' death, said the inquest was told that he was shot eight times. The shots included seven to the head and one in the shoulder.

Witnesses had previously said they thought he was shot five times.

Prime Minister Tony Blair said Monday he was "desperately sorry " about the killing, but said the police were working in "very, very difficult circumstances."

Menezes' family has threatened to take legal action.

"They have to pay for that in many ways, because if they do not, they are going to kill many people," his cousin, Alex Pereira, told BBC television. "They killed my cousin; they could kill anyone."

Nick Hardwick, chairman of the Independent Police Complaints Commission, said he expected to complete his investigation within months.

"We enter this with open minds, as a search for the truth and we have accepted the full co-operation of the Metropolitan Police Service, which they have pledged," Hardwick said.

He said police officers involved in the shooting had already given an account of the events, but they may also be called in for an interview with the investigative commission.

"I think firearms officers have a unique and awesome responsibility. I believe they and the public accept that they must be accountable for how they exercise that responsibility," Hardwick said.

"I am certain the public would not want anything done that might hinder the search for the bombers or make it more difficult for the police to prevent further attacks.

"However, I also recognize the very real fears this incident will provoke that people going about their normal business could get caught up in a similar incident," Hardwick said, AP reports.

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