Speed Reads


Australia identifies, praises two slain hostages from Sydney cafe siege

The 17-hour hostage standoff at Sydney's Lindt Chocolate Café ended with three people dead and a lot of questions. The gunman, self-proclaimed Muslim cleric Man Haron Monis, was shot by police, and now Australian media has identified the two hostages who died along with him: Tori Johnson, 34, the manager of the Lindt cafe, and 38-year-old attorney Katrina Dawson.

At a Tuesday memorial service at nearby St. Mary's Cathedral, Archbishop Anthony Fisher praised Johnson and Dawson as "heroes" who "were willing to lay down their lives so others might live." Dawson was married and had three children; Johnson was "the most amazing life partner, son, and brother we could ever wish for," his family said in a statement; he had reportedly been in a relationship with the same man for 14 years.

According to unconfirmed reports, Johnson noticed that Monis appeared to have dozed off at about 2 a.m. local time. "Apparently seeing an opportunity, Tori grabbed the gun," Fisher said. "Tragically, it went off, killing him. But it triggered the response of police and eventual freedom for most of the hostages." The archbishop also relayed reports "that Katrina Dawson was shielding her pregnant friend from gunfire." She died of a heart attack on the way to the hospital.