Sydney siege aftermath: What we've learned about the shootout in Martin Place



A hostage runs to armed tactical response police officers for safety after she escaped from a cafe under siege at Martin Place in Sydney on Monday.
Sydneysiders woke to the news Tuesday morning that the deadly 16-hour siege at a Lindt's chocolate cafe ended with the deaths of two hostages and the gunman in a shootout with police.
Here's what we know now.

What happened

Sydney police say three people were killed, including the gunman, during a hostage crisis that ended when officers stormed a downtown cafe.
The gunman was killed in a confrontation with police early Tuesday morning. Police said Tori Johnson, 34, the cafe manager, and Katrina Dawson, 38, also died.
Four other people had minor injuries, and were in stable condition — including a 75-year old woman shot in the shoulder.

Heavily armed police stormed the cafe in the heart of Sydney, ending a siege by an Iranian-born gunman who had held 17 hostages, some for more than 16 hours.
An investigation is underway.

How did the hostages die?

Sydney police wouldn't say whether the two hostages killed were caught in the crossfire or shot by the gunman, but Sydney's 9 News reports that Tori Johnson, 34, who was a manager at the store, "attempted to wrestle the sawn off shotgun from the gunman's hands after he began to doze off [at] about 2am."
It isn't immediately clear how the other hostage, Katrina Dawson, a 38-year old lawyer and mother of three, was killed in the incident.
Here are the other injuries, including a 39-year old policeman who received a minor facial injury:

Gunman, on bail, gave Australia a "brush with terrorism"

The gunman, Man Haron Monis, 50, was on bail for 40 sexual assault charges involving seven different victims, and had also been charged as an accessory to murder in a case involving the killing of his ex-wife.
Monis had also been battling the Australian government for years on a charge of sending "offensive and deplorable letters" to families of Australian soldiers who were killed in the wars in the Middle East.
"We know that he sent offensive letters to the families of Australian soldiers killed in Afghanistan and was found guilty of offenses related to this," Prime Minister Tony Abbott said.
Abbott called the siege on Tuesday a "brush with terrorism," adding: "As the siege unfolded ... [the gunman] sought to cloak his actions with the symbolism of the ISIL death cult."
"We also know that he posted graphic extremist material online," Abbott said. "Tragically, there are people in our community ready to engage in politically motivated violence."
It was initially feared that ISIL, or the Islamic State, was behind the attack due to a flag the gunman displayed in the windows of the cafe. That was later deemed to be a more general Islamic flag.
The attack was an "isolated incident," NSW Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione said on Tuesday. "It was an act of an individual and should not change how we go about our business."

Flags at half mast, flowers for the dead

Flags on government buildings across Australia are flying at half-mast on Tuesday in Sydney "to honor those who tragically lost their lives in the siege," MP Mike Baird tweeted.
Baird visited a makeshift shrine near the scene of the siege, as did Scipione, whose police led the operation to free the hostages.
"It's incredibly sad, I've got to say I don't think I could be sadder," Scipione said to reporters at the shrine. "Having said that, I'm completely proud of our police and what they have done to keep us safe, I've got nothing but praise for them."

Tony Abbott pays tribute

Prime Minister Tony Abbott has paid tribute to the victims of the siege at a press conference with NSW Premier Mike Baird. “These were decent, good people going about their ordinary lives - it’s about as an innocent thing anyone can do, to grab a coffee before work,” he said.
He was asked why Monis was out on bail, and replied:
"If I can be candid with you, that is the question that we were asking ourselves at the national security committee of the cabinet today."
"How can somebody who has had such a long, chequered history not be on the appropriate watch list? And how can someone like that be entirely at large in the community?"
However, he added that it was "possible" an event like the siege could have taken place even if Monis was on a watch list.
"The level of control that would be necessary to prevent people from going about their daily life would be very, very high indeed," he said.

Watch live coverage from Australia's ABC News 24







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