Tori Johnson, the 34-year-old manager of Lindt Chocolat Cafe who was one of two persons killed during the Sydney siege, is being remembered as a hero with some reports claiming that he tried to snatch the weapon from the gunman to allow the other hostages to escape.
Johnson died in hospital after being shot by the gunman inside the cafe yesterday. He was the son of acclaimed Australian artist Ken Johnson and his former wife Rowena.
Deputy Police Commissioner Catherine Burn did not confirm the claims about Johnson’s heroic act but said police were yet to piece together what had transpired in the cafe and that investigation could take many months, media reports said.
Johnson had worked at the Lindt Cafe since October 2012, and, before that, had worked at a host of restaurants in Sydney and the US.
His family has gathered at Johnson’s Redfern apartment.
Johnson’s parents today released a statement saying: “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.
“We feel heartfelt sorrow for the family of Katrina Dawson.
“We’d like to thank not only our friends and loved ones for their support, but the people of Sydney; Australia and those around the world for reaching out with their thoughts and prayers.
“Our deepest gratitude to the NSW police, armed forces and paramedics for their tireless efforts.
“We ask that the media respects our privacy in this difficult time.”
The gunman was identified as Man Haron Monis who was an a radical cleric. It was also reported that he had several trysts with Australian law enforcement agencies in the past.
“Let us all pray for peace on earth,” the statement said.
Second hostage who lost life was a 38-year-old mother of three, Katrina Dawson, who was an attorney.
Dawson, a highly respected barrister from Eighth Floor Selborne Chambers in Phillip Street, was a close friend of barrister Julie Taylor who was also taken hostage in the cafe.
There are reports Dawson died protecting the pregnant Taylor, who was taken from the scene on a stretcher.
The president of the New South Wales Bar Association, Jane Needham, said Katrina was one of “our best and brightest barristers.”