Newspaper article The Northern Star (Lismore, Australia)

Family Grieves for Siege Hero Family Grieves for Siege Hero; Slain Cafe Manager's Local Relatives Recount Their Ordeal

Newspaper article The Northern Star (Lismore, Australia)

Family Grieves for Siege Hero Family Grieves for Siege Hero; Slain Cafe Manager's Local Relatives Recount Their Ordeal

Article excerpt

Byline: Rodney Stevens rodney.stevens@northernstar.com.au

FAMILY of Lindt cafe manager Tori Johnson have described the gut-wrenching wait for news that ultimately ended in tragedy with their nephew being hailed a hero.

As gunman Man Haron Monis began to doze, 17 hours into the siege that gripped the globe, Mr Johnson attempted to disarm the fake sheik and was fatally shot.

Mr Johnson's uncle and aunt Ron and Leilani Johnson last saw the 34-year-old devoted family man when at his grandmother May's 90th birthday at Tuckombil in August.

Ron said whenever Tori got the opportunity, he loved to escape Sydney to spend time with family in the Northern Rivers.

"He spent a lot of time here with his dad and obviously us as his family and all of his cousins; he had more family here than probably anywhere else," Ron said.

"We have a lot of fond memories of taking the boys canoeing at Nymboida, great times camping out, and family get togethers around the Northern Rivers.

"He was the most gentle, peaceful, loving person who wouldn't harm a fly."

Tori's father Ken, a world-renowned artist, recently sold his Tintenbar property.

After graduating from high school, Tori studied at Washington State Uni-versity, before making his mark in hospitality.

"He was the manager of the Lindt cafe but before that he had a wonderful resume working around the globe as a concierge in very big hotels. He was at the top of his game," Ron said.

Leilani said a peaceful day with her daughter and grandchildren instantly turned sour when her sister sent her a text saying "have you heard the shocking news there is a siege and hostages have been taken in Sydney".

"My daughter went and turned the TV on and when she saw where it was she came running to me saying 'Mum, it's Tori's cafe'."

"We were both just glued to the TV from then because we knew he was the manager and there was a good chance he was there. …

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