Murdered hostages ‘were willing to lay down their lives so others could live’

She was a brilliant lawyer who taught young students how to prepare for mock trials. He was the beloved manager of a chocolate shop and café who was known for putting his staffers’ needs first.

Both of their lives ended in a hail of bullets inside a Sydney café after a disturbed gunman took them hostage along with 15 others.

Katrina Dawson, a 38-year-old mother of three, and Tori Johnson, the 34-year-old manager of the Lindt Chocolat Café, where the 16-hour siege unfolded, were being lauded for their courage after unconfirmed reports that they tried to save their fellow hostages.

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Sydney’s Catholic Archbishop Anthony Fisher said at a memorial service attended by hundreds of people at St Mary’s Cathedral that Mr Johnson had reportedly brought the siege to a head by grabbing the shotgun wielded by hostage-taker Man Haron Monis. Monis was killed as police stormed the café to end the siege.

“Apparently seeing an opportunity, Tori grabbed the gun. Tragically, it went off, killing him. But it triggered the response of police and eventual freedom for most of the hostages,” Mr Fisher said.

“Reports have also emerged that Katrina Dawson was shielding her pregnant friend from gunfire. These heroes were willing to lay down their lives so others might live.”