The police officer injured by Raoul Moat has described how the gunman stared coldly into his eyes moments before he shot him in the face.
Pc David Rathband spoke of his ordeal after an inquest into 37-year-old Moat's death heard armed police fired two Tasers at the steroid-addicted former nightclub doorman to stop him taking his own life.
It was unclear if officers fired before or after the father-of-three shot himself in the head, a police investigator said.
Recalling the moment he was shot through the window of his marked car at a roundabout in East Denton, Newcastle, in the early hours of July 4, Pc Rathband, 42, said: "I looked into his eyes and I saw nothing - no emotion.
"Then I felt the pain full-on in my face. I knew my right eye socket had just exploded and my eye had gone," he told The Sun.
Bleeding heavily, the officer "played dead", fearing that Moat was still close by.
"I was trying to not make a noise even though there was blood everywhere in my nose and throat."
But he managed to whisper into his radio for help as he lay slumped in the footwell.
He said he was convinced he was going to die as he was rushed to hospital by ambulance.
Pc Rathband, who has now been told he has lost the sight in both eyes, said he asked a medic to deliver a final message to his wife and two children. "I said to the guy in the ambulance, 'Will you please tell my wife and children that I love them - I'm going to die'."