By Joanne Shoebridge and Elloise Farrow-Smith
The family of Lindt cafe manager Tori Johnson, who was killed in the Sydney siege, said they “couldn’t speak” after they received the phone call informing them of his death.
Mr Johnson, 34, and fellow hostage Katrina Dawson, 38, were killed when heavily armed police stormed the Martin Place building to end a 16-hour siege. Fifteen other hostages survived the ordeal.
Mr Johnson’s aunt Lyn Whittaker said she received the phone call early on Tuesday morning.
“The phone rang about 4:30 in the morning and it was Ken, my brother, and he said ‘they’ve killed my beautiful boy’ and he couldn’t speak anymore,” she said.
“The police officer came on and told my husband that Ken couldn’t speak any more and this is what has happened.
“Tori had copped a bullet from this terrorist and he had gone.”
She said her nephew was a selfless person, and “everything you could wish for in a son and grandson”.
“A very, very, very brave boy, everything that people have said about Tori he was just the most caring, kind, gentle person,” Ms Whittaker said.
“He really was everything, he had all the qualities of just a beautiful soul.
“I just can’t believe the response from people … it’s been overwhelming.”
The family were told that Mr Johnson was killed when he tried to grab the gunman’s weapon.
“I don’t know if he tried to take over, to protect the other people, but we were told he had a lashing first,” she said.
“The gunman gave him a bit of a whacking, and then the bullet went off, he lunged at him and the bullet went off.”
Mr Johnson’s father was among relatives who visited a memorial to victims at Martin Place in Sydney last night.
Flowers fill Martin Place.