Sydney police killed a hostage-taker inside a café early Tuesday, but two hostages also died after the 16-hour ordeal. Close to a dozen hostages had already fled the shop by the time police declared the situation under control. The victims were 34-year-old Lindt café manager Tori Johnson and 38-year-old Katrina Dawson, a barrister and mother of three children. Three other hostages are being treated for gunshot wounds as well as a police officer who was sprayed in the face from a gunshot. Two pregnant hostages were examined at a hospital and all injured are in stable condition.
Johnson, who worked at the café for more than two years, allegedly died while trying to wrestle the weapon from the gunman's hands, according to other hostages. In a statement his family wrote: "We are so proud of our beautiful boy Tori, gone from this earth but forever in our memories as the most amazing life partner, son and brother we could ever wish for."
The NSW Bar Association released a statement Tuesday, calling Dawson, "one of our best and brightest barristers," a "devoted mother of three children, and a valued member of her floor and of our bar community."
The Lindt café was taken over by a gunman identified as Man Haron Monis, who was facing 50 charges of sexual assault and charged as an accessory to murder in his ex-wife’s death. (Monis was out on bail.) Australian police swarmed the café at around 2 a.m. local time. Gunfire and flashes were visible in footage from the scene, and police appeared to have stormed the café after a second group of hostages fled.
Hundreds of people descended on Martin Place near the scene of the deadly siege Tuesday, where supporters -- including Abbott and his wife Margie Abbott -- have been leaving flowers and writing messages at a makeshift memorial for the victims.