Today's Top Stories From CNN About Sydney siege victim killed by police bullets
Sydney (CNN)Only one of the Sydney siege victims was shot by the gunman, with the second killed by fragments of police bullets fired when officers stormed the cafe, an inquest has heard.
The revelations, which came in the opening day of an inquest into the 16-hour siege of a central Sydney cafe, are likely to further fuel questions about how New South Wales Police responded to the December 15 incident, especially their choice of weapons.
Of the five shots fired by Man Haron Monis, a self-styled Muslim cleric who took 18 people hostage, only one found a target, counsel assisting the coroner Jeremy Gormly told the inquest.
Monis shot and killed cafe manager Tori Johnson execution-style, prompting police to storm the cafe in the early hours of December 16, Gormly said.
All the injuries that followed -- two fatal, including those to Monis, and four non-fatal -- were caused by police fire, according to the evidence.
Police response adequate?
The inquest is expected to examine whether the deaths of Johnson, the cafe's 34-year-old manager, and Katrina Dawson, a 38-year-old lawyer, could have been prevented.
Addressing those at the hearing, which was closed to the public but open to hostages and victims' families, Gormly outlined the events that led to the deaths of Johnson, Dawson and the gunman.
He said the first killing, of Johnson, occurred at about 2.14 a.m. -- shortly after a group of hostages fled the cafe.
Gormly described an execution-style killing, in which Monis ordered Johnson to kneel, then "simply shot him, without further notice or warning, in the back of the head."
"The end of the barrel was about 75 centimeters from Mr Johnson's head at the moment of discharge," he said. "Mr Johnson is believed to have died immediately."
Flashes and bangs
The killing was witnessed by a police marksman, resulting in an immediate order to force entry, he said.
Police then shot out the glass doors and windows, threw in 11 "distractors," producing flashes and bangs, and two armed tactical response officers entered, firing 22 shots.
At least two police bullets or bullet fragments struck Monis in the head and 11 other police bullets or fragments hit his body, killing him instantly, said Gormly.
But their rounds ricocheted off the hard surfaces in the cafe, killing Dawson and injuring three other hostages and one of the response team, who was struck in the face.
"Ms Dawson was struck by six fragments of a police bullet or bullets," he said.
Cake and tea
Gormly said the siege began after Monis entered the Lindt Cafe at about 8.33 a.m., carrying a large backpack and a plastic bag containing a sawn-off shotgun, and ordered chocolate cake and tea.
He moved to a table with a clear view of the cafe, then, after about 30 minutes, asked to speak with the manager.
Staff noticed that Johnson's body language appeared tense. He called on an employee to fetch his keys, lock the doors and remain calm.
Monis then stood up, produced a shotgun and announced that he had a bomb, before ordering hostages to hold up an Islamic flag.
He then ordered Johnson to make an emergency call to authorities announcing that it was a terrorist attack, and that there were bombs elsewhere.
Police arrived at the scene shortly after.
Several investigations into what occurred over the two days of the siege are underway, including what information security agencies had on Monis, and how the police handled the crisis.
Lawyers representing Dawson, Johnson and the police force will appear at the inquest, as well as lawyers representing two tactical response officers.
Johnson's family members were in attendance, as well as John O'Brien, one of the first hostages to escape.