Home / Top Story / Hero cafe manager dies trying to stop gunman in Sydney

Hero cafe manager dies trying to stop gunman in Sydney

Tori Johnson was killed trying to wrestle the shotgun away from the maniac who seized the cafe and held people as hostages.Linkedin Tori Johnson was killed trying to wrestle the shotgun away from the maniac who seized the cafe and held people as hostages.

The hero manager of a Sydney cafe was killed Monday along with a mother of two after trying to wrestle the shotgun off a radical Iranian refugee who held the place hostage during a 16-hour standoff, according to reports.

Gunman Man Haron Monis, 50, who had sent hate mail to dead soldiers’ relatives and was convicted of sex assault, was also killed when Australian police stormed the Lindt Chocolat Cafe, where 17 hostages were kept.

“They made the call because they believed that at that time, if they didn’t enter, there would have been many more lives lost,” said New South Wales state police Commissioner Andrew Scipione.

The gun fire that prompted the raid apparently came after 34-year-old Tori Johnson attempted to snatch the weapon from a dozing Monis, 9 News in Australia reported.

Barrister Katrina Dawson, 38, died of a heart attack on the way to the hospital, following the police action in the early morning hours local time, the report said.

Four other people were wounded, including a police officer who was shot in the face.

After a series of loud bangs, cops moved into the cafe not long after five or six hostages were seen running for their lives.

Police carry an injured woman from the Lindt cafe, where hostages were held, at Martin Place in central Sydney on Monday.JASON REED/REUTERS Police carry an injured woman from the Lindt cafe, where hostages were held, at Martin Place in central Sydney on Monday. A woman cries near the scene of the Sydney cafe after the siege ended.JASON REED/REUTERS A woman cries near the scene of the Sydney cafe after the siege ended. Paramedics remove a person on a stretcher from the Lindt cafe.DAVID GRAY/REUTERS Paramedics remove a person on a stretcher from the Lindt cafe.
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One crying woman was helped by officers and at least two others were wheeled out on stretchers.

Police were acting cautiously after a report surfaced that Monis planted four bombs inside the cafe and around the nearby financial district.

Cops were called about 9:45 a.m. Monday to the cafe in the city’s financial center, where the man, an Iranian refugee, pulled a gun from his blue sports bag and interrupted the bustling morning commute by taking hostages and hanging a black flag with white Arabic writing in the window.

The flag appears to say, “There is no God but Allah; Muhammed is the Messenger of Allah,” a statement of Islamic faith that appears on the Saudi Arabian flag and the flag of extremist group ISIS.

During the ordeal, several of the hostages were filmed, with a man behind them holding the same black flag, urging officials to heed Monis’ demands that included speaking with Australian Prime Minister Tony Abott for an Islamic State flag be delivered to him.

Marcia Mikhael, 42, was one of the hostages who was forced to recite his request. “We don’t understand why these demands haven’t been met yet, they are not unreasonable,” she said in a video.

Clips were posted to YouTube but quickly taken down after the video site deemed the films in violation of its terms of service. The videos quickly popped up elsewhere, including on LiveLeak, but Australian officials urged members of the media not to broadcast the clips.

Monis, who was born Manteghi Bourjerdi, has had multiple run-ins with the law. He was convicted of sexual assault, charged as accessory to the stabbing death of his ex-wife and known for sending hate letters to the families of Australian soldiers killed overseas. He fled Iran for Australia in 1996.

Last year his former wife was stabbed 18 times and set on fire. Monis’ girlfriend is accused of the slaying and Monis was accused with abetting her.

Monis is also an outspoken critic of the NATO presence in Afghanistan and has written despicable letters to the families of deceased Australian soldiers, calling one slain soldier a “child-killer.”

He was convicted of “offensive and deplorable letters” and has worked to appeal the conviction. An appeal attempt on Friday was unsuccessful and it may have prompted the Sunday hostage incident.

“This is a one-off random individual. It’s not a concerted terrorism event or act. It’s a damaged goods individual who’s done something outrageous,” Manny Conditsis, his former lawyer, told Australian Broadcasting Corp.

Katrina Dawson, 38, died from a heart attack as she was taken to a hospital after the siege.Facebook Katrina Dawson, 38, died from a heart attack as she was taken to a hospital after the siege.

ISIS “is more than happy to use such mentally deranged and ’damaged’ individuals to act in their behalf,” noted Anne Speckhard, Professor of Psychiatry at Georgetown University and coauthor of “Undercover Jihadi.”

The scene grew chaotic six hours into the standoff when three male hostages, including one employee, got out of the cafe at 3:38 p.m. An employee wearing an apron left through a rear door toward a waiting pack of heavily armed tactical officers while two more dashed from the main entrance with their hands up.

New South Wales Premier Mike Baird and the commissioner spoke with area Islamic leaders

“We are in this together,” Baird assured at an evening press conference.

Martin Place remained still under lockdown and authorities said workers in the area should stay home Tuesday.

Hostages took turns standing in front of the windows until dinnertime, when food was brought out of the cafe kitchen and everyone huddled to one side of the room, 7News Sydney reported.

AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND OUTSERGIO DIONISIO/EPA Man Haron Monis speaks to the media after leaving a courtroom where he was charged with crimes for sending harassing letters to families of Australian soldiers in Sydney in November 2009. AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND OUTDEAN LEWINS/EPA Man Haron Monis arrives at a courthouse in Sydney in April 2011. Monis has had multiple run-ins with the law in recent years.
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Hundreds of New South Wales cops and Australian federal police had responded to the hostage situation.

“I can think of almost nothing more distressing, more terrifying than to be caught up in such a situation,” Abbott said.

The prime minister urged Australians to go about their “business as usual,” despite the “very disturbing incident.”

The gunman had hostages call several newsrooms Monday in an attempt to air his demands, but the media outlets did not comply at the request of authorities.

The U.S. Consulate, about a 10-minute walk from the cafe, was evacuated, a spokeswoman told Reuters.

Consulate officials issued an emergency warning to U.S. citizens in Australia to “maintain a high level of vigilance and take the appropriate steps to enhance your personal security.”

A hostage runs toward a police officer outside Lindt cafe.JASON REED/REUTERS A hostage runs toward a police officer outside Lindt cafe.

Other nearby buildings were evacuated and the block was cordoned off. A wide swath of Sydney was declared a no-fly zone for aircraft to avoid the crush of police helicopters.

The landmark Sydney Opera House, which is near the cafe, was briefly closed before reopening in the afternoon.

The siege at the cafe came just hours after Australian federal authorities arrested a man in northwestern Sydney for allegedly financing terrorism.

Federal cops said in a statement that the man was arrested “as part of continuing investigations into the planning of a terrorist attack on Australian soil and the facilitation of travel of Australian citizens to Syria to engage in armed combat.”

The 25-year-old man, whose name was not released, was arrested as he left a prayer hall, an Australian radio station reported.

Another man allegedly connected to the same operation is believed to already be in custody.

Three months ago, federal police exposed a plot to kidnap an Australian at random, behead him in a public area — such as the Martin Place pedestrian zone where the hostage scene is located — and post the execution to social media. Numerous people were arrested.

Many Australians, using the Twitter hashtag #IllRideWithYou, offered to accompany people dressed in Muslim clothes who were afraid of a backlash.

An NYPD spokesman said city police are “monitoring the situation in Sydney.”

With News Wire Services

Nation / World – NY Daily News

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