Family and friends of several hostages taken by gunman Man Haron Monis inside a Sydney Café recounted the fear and terror the hostages experienced with Guardian Australia Tuesday.
No one paid attention to Monis at the café and the only time anyone heard anything from him is when he took his shotgun and held it up in fury yelling at patrons to stand with their hands raised.
Monis told customers he was a representative of ISIS and there were bombs in the building. Minutes later, a customer approached the already locked doors of the café but was deterred by Monis.
The customers alerted the police and the operation began.
Meanwhile, Monfis reportedly was yelling at his captives spreading messages of fear while they cried. Monfis finally got someone to listen to him.
The gunman surrounded himself with the staff members, the paper reports. He used them to control messages to social media. He directed them what to do and what to say.
Hostages called media outlets across Australia to relay Monfis’ demands; a live on-air broadcast with Australian prime minister Tony Abbot, a public declaration that this was an act of terror from ISIS and a black Islamic State flag.
None of his demands were met.
Videos of Monfis controlling the staff members were deleted from YouTube early on. A woman is reading a prepared statement and the “director” of the video reportedly spoke confidently to those on camera.
A Sydney lawyer, Julie Taylor, was one of the hostages forced to speak.
“My name is Julie Taylor, I’m a barrister in Sydney, this is a message for Tony Abbott. We are here with … ummm … our brother, who has asked for three simple things, and the first is that Tony Abbott calls him, live in the media, to have a short conversation. If he does that five of us will be allowed to go. We can’t understand why that hasn’t happened.”
Taylor continued to relay the demands of Monis on the video.
With the situation dragging, Monis reportedly realized his message was not getting out.
One hostage told Guardian Australia that Monis was getting “angrier and angrier.”
Monis did allow the captives to take drinks of water and for one woman to take her medication.
Monis granted bathroom breaks and made sure there was an escort to those who needed to use the restroom.
Two men who asked to go to the bathroom asked a staff member if they pressed the green button at the base of the door, would it open. The employee was unsure.
The men took a risk and made a run for it. They pressed the button sliding the open doors and made their escape, the café employee went through the fire door sparking two more to do the same later.
As night fell, the power was cut. An agitated Monis was only getting more furious.
Details emerged after the rescue operation that one hostage attempted to grab Monis’ gun. Gunshots were heard, which prompted police to move in.
When the dust cleared, Monis was found dead on the ground with two victims, 38-year-old Katrina Dawson and 34-year-old Tori Johnson, the manager of the café.