Victims killed in Sydney hostage crisis identified

RSTV Bureau

aust-vctmTwo hostages who have been killed in the 17-hour-long hostage crisis on Monday at a cafeteria were identified as the manager of the Lindt Chocolate cafe and a lawyer.

The 38-year-old lawyer, Katrina Dawson, was a mother of three young children who became the victim of the siege. She was a barrister at Selbourne Chambers and was married to Paul Smith, a partner at Mallesons.

Dawson studied law at Sydney University, where she lived at the women’s college as a student. She did her clerkship at Mallesons where she met her husband.

Lindt Chocolate cafe’s 34-year-old manager, Tori Johnson, was also killed in the siege operations on Monday. He had worked at the cafe since October 2012 and at a string of other restaurants and hospitality companies around Sydney.

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott today said: “Tragically, there are people in our community ready to engage in politically motivated violence. The events in Martin Place also show that we are ready to deal with these people professionally and with the full force of law.”

“Yesterday, Premier Baird showed great steadfastness and Sydneysiders can be proud of their calm during what was a very difficult and testing day,” he added thanking New South Wales (NSW) Police and all the other agencies involved for their professionalism and courage.

The Prime Minister added that there is nothing more Australian than dropping in at the local cafe for a morning coffee and it’s tragic beyond words that people going about their everyday business should have been caught up in such a horrific incident.

“Our hearts go out to all of those caught up in this appalling incident and their loved ones. On behalf of all Australians, I extend my sympathy to the families of the two hostages who died overnight,” Abbott said.

New South Wales (NSW) Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione said: “It’s incredibly sad; I’ve got to say I don’t think I could be sadder.”

Meanwhile, flags on all Commonwealth and NSW Government buildings will be flown at half-mast on Tuesday in honour of the victims of Sydney siege.

According to NSW premier Mike Baird, flags will fly at half-mast today on NSW Government buildings to honour those who tragically lost their lives in the siege at Lindt cafe.

The killed gunman was identified as 50 year old a Man Haron Monis, who arrived in Australia as a refugee from Iran in 1996.

Police fired stun grenades and shots as they stormed the Lindt Chocolate Cafe in Sydney’s commercial district after 2:30 AM local time Tuesday (9 PM IST Monday) and later declared that the siege was over.

Two Indian nationals — Vishwakant Ankit Reddy and Pushpendu Ghosh were among the hostages involved when Monis began his siege. However, Reddy, an Infosys employee in his mid-30s, and Ghosh, whose details were not known, escaped safely.

India prepared to deal with crisis situations: Parrikar

Expressing confidence in the country’s ability to tackle crisis situations like the Sydney Hostage episode, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Tuesday said India’s preparedness has definitely improved.

“I think we are improving and definitely much better than probably what we were prepared in the earlier years. So, ultimately it comes with situation, each situation differs. But I think we are quite well prepared,” he told.

Parrikar, who is a member of the Cabinet Committee on Security, was asked how he assessed the country’s preparedness in the wake of what had happened in Sydney.

On Monday, a heavily-armed man of Iranian-origin held 17 people hostage at a cafe in Sydney. The crisis ended late last night with the police storming it.