Family and friends of several hostages taken by gunman Man Haron Monis inside a Sydney cafe recounted on Tuesday the fear and terror the hostages experienced during the ordeal.
No one paid attention to Monis at the Lindt Chocolat Cafe 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, The Guardian reports.
Monis reportedly 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, Monis reportedly was yelling at his captives, spreading messages of fear while they cried. Monis 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 Monis’ demands; a live on-air broadcast with Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, 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 Monis controlling the staff members were deleted from YouTube early on during the hostage situation. In one of the videos, 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 The Guardian that Monis was getting “angrier and angrier.”
But he 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 wanted to go to the bathroom and were escorted by a staff member asked the employee if a green button at the base of two doors in the front of the shop would open them.
The employee was unsure.
Later, the two men took a risk and made a run for it. They pressed the button, which slid the doors open and allowed them to make an escape while Monis was talking to hostages near him.
“If that door hadn’t opened, I felt sure I was going to be shot in the back,” one of the men reportedly said.
The café employee escaped through a fire door nearby. Two more employees would do the same as the day went on.
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.