News.com.au reports that Tori Johnson, 34, was attempting to wrestle the gun from hostage-taker Man Haron Monis, who had begun dozing off, when the weapon discharged early Tuesday morning, killing Johnson along with another hostage, Katrina Dawson, 38.
Australian police believe the manager’s heroic efforts allowed the other hostages to escape after the tense and prolonged stand-off. The gunman was then killed when police stormed the café after hearing the shots that killed Johnson and Dawson.
Johnson’s parents released a statement saying, “We are so proud of our beautiful boy Tori, gone from this earth but forever in our memories as the most amazing life partner, son, and brother we could ever wish for.”
Friends of Johnson — who is survived by Thomas Zinn, his partner of 14 years — described the him as “a loving, placid, and very gentle soul” and “a true gentleman.”
A former colleague posted the following on Facbeook: “R.I.P. Tori Johnson, at times we both hated each other, and at other times we’d be hysterically laughing. You gave me so many chances even when i was a little s*** eating all the lindor balls and pretending I was a barista. You had a good heart, and I knew you were in there protecting everyone.”