Today Australians woke to the devastating news that the Martin Place siege had ended with the death of two hostages. A siege that we had all hoped could be resolved peacefully ended in bloodshed and the loss of innocent life.

Crikey extends sympathy to the families, friends and colleagues of Katrina Dawson and Tori Johnson, who died when police stormed the Lindt cafe in the Sydney CBD this morning.

Dawson, 38, was a successful barrister and mother of three, according to reports. The president of the NSW Bar Association, Jane Needham, wrote in a statement: “Katrina was one of our best and brightest barristers who will be greatly missed by her colleagues and friends at the NSW Bar. She was a devoted mother of three children, and a valued member of her floor and of our bar community.”

Johnson, 34, was the manager of the cafe at the centre of the siege. Sources have told the ABC that Johnson was trying to wrestle the weapon away from the gunman when he was killed, but authorities have not confirmed whether this was the case.

Australia is fortunate enough to be a place in which such violence — whether of criminal or terrorist origin — is atypical. But that’s little consolation as we mourn these needless deaths.

Peter Fray

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