The gay manager of the café at the center of the Sydney hostage crisis has been hailed a hero for wrestling the gunman before he was shot dead.
Tori Johnson, 34, lunged at hostage-taker Man Haron Monis as he shot at several fleeing hostages at around 2am this morning, giving them time to escape.
Johnson was shot trying to take the gunman’s weapon and died later in hospital.
Barrister Katrina Dawson, 38, was also killed while shielding her pregnant friend and four others were injured.
After hearing the gunfire, commandos stormed the café, killing Monis and freeing the remaining hostages.
Johnson was in a long-term relationship with his partner of 14 years, Thomas Zinn, who is being comforted with the deceased’s family at the couple’s home in Redfern.
‘Police in Sydney have now confirmed to local media that the Lindt Cafe manager Tori Johnson died when he attacked the gunman, trying to wrest his shotgun away. This action almost certainly saved many lives,’ Don Baxter, adviser for international programs at the Australian Federation of AIDS Organizations, told GSN.
‘Gay Australians are comparing Tori’s actions with those of Mark Bingham, who led the attack on the 9/11 plane heading towards Washington, bringing it down and thereby avoiding many more deaths.’
Monis, a self-appointed Muslim ‘cleric’ who fled to Australia from Iran, seized 17 hostages at Lindt Chocolat Cafe in Martin Place yesterday morning.
Monis had been out on bail at the time over 40 sexual offense charges and charges relating to his role in his wife’s murder – over which he was most likely going to be jailed for many years.
Monis had originally been a Shia Muslim but recently converted to Sunni Islam and started supporting the Islamic State despite the fact that they execute Shia Muslims.
Johnson had managed the coffeeshop since October 2012 and before that had worked at restaurants in Sydney and the US.
He was the son of acclaimed Australian artist Ken Johnson and his former wife Rowena.
‘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,’ his parents said in a statement.