tv CNN Newsroom With Carol Costello CNN December 15, 2014 7:00am-8:01am PST
according to our law enforcement source with knowledge of the investigation shot and killed his ex-wife and then went to another location, other location, and shot and killed other members of his family. now as to motive, i am told this appears to be domestic at this time. there is no federal involvement in this case. local authorities are handling this as the situation plays itself out. but they're trying to negotiate with this person, the suspect, to get him to come out of the house. that's what's happening at this hour. >> sadly, this type of crime always seems to happen around the holiday time. >> all too often. >> susan candiotti, thanks so much. the next hour of cnn "newsroom" starts now. i'm carol costello, thank you for joining me. we begin with a gut-wrench drag
ma in sydney, australia. police officer say this gunman walked into a cafe and held everyone hostage. he has two demands, a phone call with the prime minister and a flag representing the terror group isis. at 9:30 a.m. a woman reported a man carrying a bag she described as suspicious. minutes later, he entered the cafe taking more than 20 people hostage. some captives escaped. first three men ran to safety, then two women. we've heard from an employee at the cafe who fled in the opening moments. >> at this point i was thinking something is definitely off. a few moments later they hung a closed sign on the door and told us all to leave. just as i was about to leave the lady next to me screamed out "he has a gun." >> let's begin our coverage in
sydney with reporter kathy novak. tell us more, kathy. >> we are, we are learning now it's about 2:00 a.m. in sydney. police have identified this hostage taker, he's named man haron moniz, a self-proclaimed sheik haron. in 2007 he was convicted of writing offensive letters to the families of soldiers who died while fighting in afghanistan. he has been fighting those charges all the way up until last year and he has been convicted on those letter-writing charges but is currently on bail on two other very separate serious charges. the first he is accused of being an accessory to the murder of his ex-wife and the second he's
charged with sexual assault related offenses which are related to the services he claims to provide as a self-proclaimed spiritual healer. so certainly very well known to police and the media here in australia and this is all unfolding in terms of the identity in terms of this hostage taker as we speak. >> how many people are still inside the cafe, do we know? kathy, can you still hear me? all right, we've lost kathy novak. but we understand it's less than 20 people still being held inside this cafe. police are just waiting the gunman out hoping that he becomes exhausted and lets the hostages go. let's talk more about this with former fbi agent who worked on the joint terrorism task force here in new york. thank you so much for coming in. i appreciate it. >> my pleasure.
so we know who the suspect is. clearly 5 loan wolf? >> maybe inspired by various groups around the world. isis being one of them. but he's clearly a person who seems to be on the edge of society he's got sexual assault charges, accessory to murder. i don't think he's part of any mainstream muslim group in australia. i think he's a guy that's been on the edge of society and is almost self-radicalized to some degree but clearly someone a who is a failure in mainstream society. >> so he had two people hold up a flag that said "there is no god but allah and mohammed is his messenger." he wants to talk to australia's prime minister, he wants an isis flag. is this the kind of person isis wants? >> several little points than question there. the flag? a very mainstream muslim flag.
so every muslim probably uses that as their main muslim prayer so that's kind of common. but this isis, i don't think he was strongly affiliated with isis but he might have been inspired by what isis has been saying over the last few months. >> inspired. but that's clearly what isis wants. it doesn't care, right? >> i don't think they care whether this guy is mentally ill, whether he's on the frung of society or not. they love the terror aspect of what he's accomplished. some people called him a wannabe but he's more than that. he has succeeded in what isis and maybe other terrorist groups want, that's to put terror into society. as you know, isis a month or two ago released a statement saying kill civilians on the streets, use rocks, knives, guns, whatever you need to." this is the type of acts that isis wants to happen all over the western world so they're probably sitting back enjoying what's going on. >> i want to go to our justice correspondent evan perez in washington. he has more information on this
suspect. i suppose he learned from isis or took a cue from isis as far as social media use goes. >> yeah. this guy has been very active on social media, carol. he's been ranting about the u.s. air strikes against isis and against if participation of australian forces. the australian air force has been conducting some of these bombings in iraq and syria against isis so he is -- has been speaking out against that. ranting against u.s. oppression and advocating for isis. the australians in recent months have been pushing some very aggressive laws to counteract some of the radicalization because they've had i think up to 250 people have gone to join various militant groups in either iraq or syria. and some of them have come back, dozens have come back, carol. so they've pushed some of these
laws which one of them is to make it a crime to advocate terrorism. another is to make it a crime to travel to certain conflict zones. these laws not even the united states and other countries have been able to pass so the australians have been active aggressively so it's interesting he was so active on social media, speaking out. apparently these laws had not been passed by the time he was doing this. >> so how do negotiators get him out thereof? they have this knowledge. that's helpful. >> well, i don't want to give too much about what the police are doing for the safety of the hostages but obviously cutting back a lot of this media, making sure whatever is filtered out to the media, in the mumbai attacks, as was said earlier, the terrorists were using the media and deciding what to do based on what was going on in the media. so for the safety of the hostage s so at some point hostage taker
become mrs. and more tired especially since there's only one individual, as it appears to us. so time and making sure that every hostage can come out safely, those are very important things and controlling what the hostage taker receives in terms of other information, obviously there are some tactics that can be used? >> just going back to the social media aspect of this. efrlier there were four videos posted on youtube, one of them depicted -- one of the hostages actually communicating demands to authorities. but those youtube videos were quickly taken offline. this guy had a facebook page. is that down, too? >> they've taken down a lot of his social media accounts, carol, because they don't want to help him get his message out. this is something the fbi, u.s. intelligence agencies are combing over to help australian authorities in their investigation. obviously they want to know, they believe he's acting on his
own but if he had help, if there's anybody who might have known about this ahead of time they'd like to know that as well. >> u.s. citizens in australia were warned to be careful. can you get into that for us, evan? >> well, last night our time, as this was going down, one of the first thing has happened was an effort to make sure that u.s. personnel -- because the u.s. consulate is just a block or so away from this cafe so that was the first thing. secondly, they were very concerned about whether there might be u.s. citizens either in the cafe being held hostage. we still don't know whether or not any u.s. citizens were involved there there but obviously this is a big tourist destination, it's summer down there, it's a big travel season for american tourists, so that was one of the big concerns. and they've been warned, carol, the u.s. consulate there in sydney has warned people to make sure they are aware of their
surroundings, to make sure they take their own personal security in mind, don't go anywhere where you might -- where something bad can happen. a final question to you, fofo floria. we only hear about the lone wolfes that are quote/unquote successful. but tell us about the ones that they have been able to stop. >> they've been taking a lot of measures to get dangerous people off the streets so there's lot of cooperation between the fbi and other police forces across the world. so worldwide we try to be as proactive as possible through intelligence, analyst, and all of these other techniques we have to try to detect not only who is possibly an extremist who is going to take the next step and do some violent act based on their ideology and believes. so the cops and police try to do as much as they can to prevent
dangerous people. sometimes they do slip through, though, that's, i think, maybe what happened in this case. there was one guy that was clearly criminally on the edge of society. but, you know, obviously they didn't know he was going to move forward and take a step like this. foria younis, evan perez, i appreciate it. still to come in the newsroom, a radio host in shock when the hostage inside the candy shop calls him. >> you'll have to bear with me. i'm currently talking off air to the same young person i was talking to in the last hour. we have to take a break. i cannot put this person to air, it would be irresponsible but i need to hear what he has to say. i'll tell you on the line when i'm coming back.
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i want to take you live to sydney, australia, right now. there are more hostages escaping from that chocolate coffee shop. yesterday five hostages managed to escape on their own. we're not sure if the hostage taker is letting the hostages go one by one or if more hostages are escaping. we're looking at this in realtime so we're not quite sure what's going on. we absolutely know more hostages are escaping that store. as you can see, police are surrounding them with heavy weaponry so we assume they are safe as they run out of that building. kathy novak is on the scene in sydney. what more can you tell us about this? we have just been hearing very loud bangs behind where i
am standing. quick fire, loud nices and a police car has just driven past me. there's a lot of movement happening here. we are seeing that more hostages have come out of the building and as soon as we got those reports the next thing we heard were very, very loud bangs coming from the direction of the lindt cafe. just behind she where this is unfolding. where we are seeing more hostages coming out of the cafe and hearing these loud bangs. >> what do the loud bangs sound like to you, kathy? >> of course we can't confirm where what they are from where i am standing but it sounds like quick gunfire from where i'm standing. it was very loud bangs and they were in quick succession and they happened just after we heard those reports 60 these hostages leaving the cafe and that was not long after we had also started reporting the identity of the hostage taker.
his identity became revealed as a man known very well to police as a self-proclaimed sheik who had been facing a string of other charges and is actually currently on bail and had already been convicted of writing offensive letters to the families of soldiers who had died fighting in afghanistan. so this is this has been unfolding just in the last hour and just in the last couple minutes. as i say, hostages released and right now hearing more very loud bangs coming from the direction of the cafe. >> evan perez is in washington helping us monitor this. let me remind you, these live pictures happening right now. more hostages are coming out of that chocolate coffee shop in sydney. evan, you've been hearing word from some of the hostages inside and some who've already escaped. how did they drub tescribe the situation? >> carol, the communications they've had with local media, which is the way the
communications have been had and also via these videos that they posted indicates that, you know, they've basically just been describing what this gunman is demanding which is a couple of things. he wants a flag, isis flag which he apparently forgot to bring with him and secondly that he wanted to have a phone call or communication with the australian prime minister. the australian prime minister did not address that when he had his press conference several hours ago saying this was in the hands of the terrorism and special forces that are handing the situation there. it looks like we see some people trying to get into a building right now and firing, carol. i'm not sure what exactly 1 going on. >> let's listen into the 7 network in australia. >> if cpr is being conducted on them but look the ambulances are there and they've been here waiting for just this eventuali eventuality. >> sean, it looks as though this is what they've been planning for. we've had at least six armed officers outside throwing the
grenades. they also seem to have night vision goggles on so perhaps the fact that the cafe has been in darkness all this time, they've been managing to plan their attack much more carefully and without the gunman knowing quite so much and they seem to have really stunned him at this point. >> well, that's right. there have been police squads here today that i've never seen before in my time as a reporter. we haven't been able to report on their presence a lot but -- and that's -- the police have asked us not to because they didn't want the man in the cafe to know what was going on. but they were certainly ready and they were here in numbers. i'm being told now that one policeman has been hurt. this is a very early unconfirmed report at this stage but i am being told one policeman has been hurt and i will try and firm that up and bring you a for more details on that.
certainly someone is in grave danger just outside the cafe being treated at the moment and yet again more ambulances are leaving to head to the cafe to see what they can do. >> sean, it's been interesting with the revelations of the identity of this man and his history of violence and we know he was before the courts only last week and he's on bail for being an accessory to the murder of his ex-wife. maybe that knowledge of the violence of the gunman was something that provoked them into action all that faster? >> well, yes, i guess it's been reported from early on that he was known by police. i've covered his cases before in court, a lot of journalists in sydney know him by face. he certainly has a history. he has a recent history and it's a significant history. matters currently before the courts and he served time for
matters he's previously been found guilty of. >> chris is across the road from the lindt cafe and he's got some information to give us at this moment. so thank you for that, sean. we'll cross the chris now. chris, what can you tell us? >> we were just with the police when that operation went down and quite dramatic scenes as you obviously could see from your position as well. i'll detail what i can for you, basically. we first at the whole moment seemed to begin by the escape of by our account about six or seven of the hostages. they ran out from the right-hand side as we were looking at it, the right-hand side of the cafe and flew down the steps and into the arms of the waiting police on the elizabeth street side of the cafe. at that point, there was a couple of minutes of silence, a police unit moved in, we could see them in dark uniforms,
nvg -- night vision goggles -- on. looking towards the doors. there was a shot fired. we think it was the gunman firing a shot. we heard from one police officer saying that a hostage was down and at that point the police moved in. we saw a lot of explosive material, flash bangs as they're called, stun grenades to disrupt and startle the gunman. as police units move in from both sides of the cafe to try and get him before he could do any further damage. now, very dramatic scenes as we've seen more people pulled out and sean has reported someone is being worked on quite furiously by medical authorities here on the ground, ambulances have moved in as well. not a good sign. but we do know one hostage was down and that police are doing everything they can. emergency services doing everything they can to work on him. but a very doctor mat i can few moments there. all in the last 15 minutes.
>> chris, sean said he had a report it was a policeman down, but you think it's a hostage? >> i think it was a hostage. i think from where we were, let me just explain, we're at the channel 7 newsroom directly opposite the cafe. our massive glass windows look directly into theirs and there are four plate glass windows in the cafe and at number two we thought we saw a -- well, the police think they saw a hostage injured in some way and go down. >> chris, we're just being told that four people are being stretchered away at the moment. now, whether they've been hurt or whether they're just being taken away because of their ordeal we don't know but those ambulances are really quite needed at the moment, aren't they? >> there have been a lot of ambulances here down elizabeth street for most of the day prepared for just this kind of eventuality. police hoped it wasn't going to get to this. they had been negotiating with him, talking with him. their specialist negotiators
have been working on a line of communication since early afternoon and the police and certainly police commissioner were hoping they might be able to talk this down to resolution. it hasn't happened that way. i'm not sure what triggered the event. there was a lot of movement within the cafe in the moments just before they broke free. we saw the gunman and we could see him clearly moving his hostages from one side of the cafe to the other, sort of corralling them into one part of the cafe before we saw at the other end of the cafe, the elizabeth street side of it, the side doors fly open and those six possibly seven people running out. we saw four run down into elizabeth strait, two run up to phillips street and another one one towards channel 7 diagonally across the road to make his way to safety. has that antagonized the gunman? has it caused him to overact, overreact, we're not sure. but any way the police at that point saw it was their opportunity to move in and a
team of what i count were four tactical police marched quietly up the stairs, fully loaded, guns bristling, throwing stun grenades and went in. there was a lot of gunfire, a lot of flash bangs and for a period of about 30 seconds the entire place, the martin place four court between our two buildings was lit up as the police went in to do their thing. there was gunfire ringing out from both sides. it was extremely dramatic. extremely tense. and now it seems to have settled down. obviously there is an end to this inside the cafe. >> chris, no sign of the gunman at this stage? >> say again? >> no sign of the gunman? police haven't brought the gunman snoout? >> i would think not. i would think he is still in the cafe. >> and do you think the policemen -- obviously some of the policemen are still inside with him.
let's hope all the hostages are out at this point. there's been quite an exodus so perhaps they're all out. >>er just trying to do the math before when we saw through the day when our cameras were here and we've been trying work out how many there were in there. as you know the beginning of the day there were suspected of being up to 50 people captured inside the building. we could only see 15 and after those five escaped mid-afternoon around 4:00, that took it down to about 10. we saw it at about 2:05 another six or seven move out. that left two or three still trapped inside with the gunman. the gunman getting agitated. he's lost his bargaining, negotiation tool. he's only got the two there. police are moving in from both sides. at that point we saw gunfire exchange and now this is at an end. >> yes, chris, judging by the way the police are standing around outside, there's no sense of urgency there anymore.
it looks like mission accomplished. >> well, i think the gunman is down. i think we can accept that. and there is no sense of danger. right now their priority will be to work on those injured, the hostages, obviously. and that job, obviously, befalls the paramedics that have been on standby now for 16, 17 hours since this began. >> a mammoth effort. thanks very much. we'll cross back to sean berry now. sean is on the street. sean, tell us what you're seeing from your angle. >> the five brigade officers have moved in as well as police officers. it's a lot of panic here. cars were zipping everywhere at one stage. at the moment, i've spoken to someone inside the court in there and i'm told ambulance officers tried cpr on two injured people. so that's at least two people in
very bad condition presumably shot and ambulance officers can be conducting cpr on them at the moment. look, there are police, there are ambulance in and out of the street at the moment. there's a siren going off but those gunshots have ended. it appears this siege is over. out of the blue, out of nowhere it was just gunshots, loud gunshots. bangs from some sort of explosions, flash bangs from the police and now this. so many hours after relatively peaceful negotiations with the police. the police say they'd been on the phone throughout the day with this man, ha ran monis a-- haram monis, something triggered
this. a number of people have been hit. this is very flood at the moment. earlier reports were an officer had been injured somehow. we're waiting to firm that up as well but certainly there are people injured here and it hasn't been a peaceful end to this operation. >> sean, chris was saying that from his angle it looked like one of the hostages had been injured. now you saying two people have been injured and have received cpr, it's possibly a policeman and a hostage. >> yes, potentially. i was told a policeman was injured. i don't know shot. certainly cpr would suggest two people were shot. it's very unclear at the moment the police aren't sure what happened. it's unclear how many people have been injured. the number seems to be three or four given there were about 15 hostages inside at the time when all of this gunfire was going
off and these explosions were happening. >> it's been an incredible time. we're talking about nearly 17 hours this siege has been going on. as you said, it was very, very quiet for a long time and nothing seemed to be happening and it's escalated in the last hour. >> yes. it was really, really very sudden. we were all sort of waiting, everyone, the authorities, police, blangambulance, were al waiting for this siege to end. they have to end eventually. when the news first broke at about 10:00, terrible images of the hostages were their hands and faces against the windows who could have known how it would end up. since then, every hour, every moment has been the moment that this may potentially happen and then now early in the morning i guess police have the advantage of darkness, they have their night vision goggles and the lights are out inside the cafe perhaps gave them advantage and
made it a unique time to move. maybe they had little option when those hostages ran. that will emerge in coming days but certainly it was -- it did feel like it was out of the blue. there was little to give it away other than two white cars with specialized police inside pu pulling up near the cafe. >> do you know where the ambulances are going, sean? >> i can't be entirely sure. there are two hospitals close to here, st. vincent's hospital up in paddington, that's quite close as well as the hospital in camperdown. both are an option. it depends on how busy they are tonight. this time of day and this time of day they should shouldn't be too busy and presumably they also would have been on alert. this was a well-organized effort by police. they triggered special terrorist emergency levels that gave them all the resources they needed and one would imagine that the hospitals had been contacted and
the ambulances who had been waiting here for most of the day for just this to happen knew exactly where they'd go and which ones would go to which hospital. >> sean, for the last hour or so we've known the identity of the gunman but obviously police have known this information for quite some time and bearing in mind the violent history of this man, perhaps they realized that they were in for a little bit more than they were hoping for in the beginning, that the chances of a peaceful resolution were quite slim. >> well, yes. his history is far from glowing. he has a fairly long criminal history. i've covered a few of his previous cases. he read these letters to the families of australian diggers killed in afghanistan. he was sentenced for that and he'd been in court as recently as the last week or so. it certainly known to police.
they knew who he was. they began monitoring his social media presence and, yes, you'd say that they knew that the possible outcomes, what's happened here, people seriously injured, was a real risk when they moved in. >> his social media site was shut down just this evening and we know he'd been using the social media sites of the hostages to get his message through and that he'd been calling radio stations and television stations to put his demands through to the government. but the that information was obviously not made public to everybody because the police were hoping to hold on to that. so they've had quite a bit of information they've been dealing with throughout the day. >> yes, that's right. and look he had been posting videos from inside the cafe on social media sites. police had asked us not to broadcast them and all the media outlets and various media outlets wr indeed being contacted directly by the hostages with his demands.
we'd been asked not to repeat his demands or show these videos. they didn't want to give him what he wanted and there was a real risk that he was inside the cafe monitoring what was being said and reported and put up on social media. so police probably had a bit of a better picture of exactly what was happening inside but they kept saying and understanding they have operational reasons they didn't want this man inside to know what they knew about him. >> sean, we'll cross back now to chris because we believe he has some more information for us from his vantage point. chris, what have you got to say now? >> we've just got extra details, extra clarity, if you like, on the proceedings, what took place in this last 35 minutes. around 2:00 p.m., this is the timeline. around 2:00 p.m. we saw movement inside the cafe, the gunman was moving the hostages from one side to the other.
corralling them. as he moved them -- if i can speak in these terms -- the location of the cafe, but as he moves them left five or six, maybe seven of them were stuck on the right and they bolted out the side door. they managed to make good and escape at that point. four of them ran towards elizabeth street, two ran up towards phillips street, one came towards us and ran down phillips street the other way. at that point there was a pause of maybe five or ten minutes, sue, and then we -- i'm assuming here but some sort of panic growing inside on behalf of the gunman, inside the cafe. we heard the words from the police there was a hostage down. at that point they decided to go in, we saw two groups of police, one from the left, one from the right. there were about maybe eight, two small groups of four coming in from the left, a bigger group on the left than the right, all going in, the left first, you can see the vision there, the flash bangs that were going off. that went for a good five
minutes. as the other group came in from the right there was a pause in the middle of all of that, shots being fired as well as the explosion of those flash bang stun grenades if you like. at that point there was a big move to get people out of the left-hand side of the cafe. we could see clearly that the police were working on some of the hostages that we think we counted about seven people being taken out on stretchers in a row all the way down, running, being run down martin place towards that waiting queue of ambulances that has been sitting there all day. out of the seven stretchers, we think five of the hostages or the people injured were being tre treated by paramedics as they were in movement from the front door of the cafe into the ambulances. two were just being moved perhaps just told to get on
stretchers perhaps no severe injury. no idea of how severe in general those injuries were. all seven were put into ambulances. there's no further movement in the cafe. we're assuming the gunman was taken down. that's a big assumption, it could be he was shot and one of those seven wheeled away by the police as well. that's the detail we have at the moment. >> we're going to break away from seven network australia now and go to sydney to a different location where cnn correspondent kathy novak is standing by. have you gotten any confirmation that the gunman is dead? >> no confirmation as yet. this has all been rapidly unfolding in the past 15 minutes or so. that's when we saw a number of hostages emerge from the cafe and the police storming that cafe is we could hear the gunfire from where i was standing and as we know,
paramedics had moved in, were on the scene treating people who appeared to be injured. i saw some of those ambulances passing by where i was standing and more police moving in. it seems quiet inside the cafe which seems to ibd kwhat you're asking but we're not getting confirmation of that just yet. it's still rapidly unfolding just near martin police where these people have been holed up for hours throughout the day. it had been very quiet, about 2:00 a.m. here in sydney and for many hours this has been a standoff between the gunman and police. we are seeing this situation now with authorities still moving in and out of this area. >> i want to bring iforia younis, an fbi agent who worked on the joint task force in new york. take us through what you think
might have happened because i mean obvious the police had a plan in place before they instituted it and started throwing in stun grenades. >> well, at once situation has hand now you have hostages and a hostage taker and the police outsidesydney sydney grenades. >> well, at once situation has hand now you have hostages and a hostage taker and the police outside at that point one of thing two things could happen. one, the hostage taker himself. or the gunman. >> from what we know from australia's reporting, one of the hostages fell and there are four big plate glass windows in that store so people could see in, including the police. so that would have instigated or -- that that would have gotten the plan moving. >> absolutely. so here, for example, now, he may have shot someone, the gunman, they're talking to him
they may have realized he's becoming more and more unstable and at that point the police determine what to do. once somebody is shot from the inside, police almost have no choice but to go inside, try to save as many hostages as they can. >> so what do they do? they throw in stun grenades to create a distraction? maybe shatter the windows to create more of a distraction? >> yes, to disorient the gunman. you want to do whatever you can to gain the advantage for the safety of the officers so these are specialized swat teams. they use skills and tactical equipment to go in there and neutralize the gunmen before he injures any more innocent victims. >> we heard that seven -- up to seven hostages may have been injured. we've heard a police officer may have been injured. obviously this is such a dangerous maneuver. could police have handled this any other way? >> it's too early to tell what happened there, carol, and i -- it sounds like from what i heard earlier that the first shots were fired from the inside.
but this is something we really is to wait and see what the outcome is. the australian police from what i've -- know of them, they do a very good job and they're well trained. in hindsight you can look back and say maybe things could have been done differently. why was this man still out on the street walking around with all of the violence he's committed. so all of these things will get analyzed but it seems to me just from this specific last 20, 30 minutes the first shots seem to have been fired from the inside. >> let's those washington and check in with evan perez. foria is right, this guy had a violent past. certainly officers took this into account. >> that's right, carol. this is not the way the police would have wanted this to end, obviously, as you and i were talking just in the last 30 minutes. we saw them trying to throw in stun grenades and firing into the -- into this dark cafe they
had some advantage, night vision, he does not. but this is not the way you want to do this because of the high risk of injury to some hostages but from what we can tell, from the reporters ing of reporters the scene, it appears the gunman started it by firing after some hostages made their getaway and that clearly agitated him when hostages made their escape. i think a group of six or seven or so managed to escape as he was moving them across the room shortly after 2:00 a.m. sydney time is when he decides to take action and once he does that, once he fires his weapon, carol, is when police no choice but to come in and try to figure out how to end it all and from what we can tell they've either killed him or they've detained him in some way. either way, he's been neutralized and now the investigation begins as to
exactly how all this ended, carol. as you said, you know, he goes by the name after sheik monis, he was known because of his past so they were suspecting they were going to have to do something. >> foria, a question for you. so whether isis existed or not couldn't this man with such a long criminal record and troubled past and psychological problems, could he have done this anyway? >> obviously there's people that commit violence for different reasons he could be mentally
deranged. he could have known he was facing a lifetime in jail but from what we can tell about him from his own statements he was somewhat ininspired by this group isis. so as investigators we look to see what he's said. he is the focussed on this ideology that isis puts out. >> i want to remind our viewers of this man's criminal past. he's accused of trying to hire someone to kill his ex-wife. is that right. >> he's facing sexual assault charges. he calls himself shake haron and
reports to offer sexual healing. so he's been currently on bail and the other charges stretch back to offenses he has been convicted for. those are writing offensive letters to the families of soldiers killed while fighting in afghanistan. so they will have known throughout the day what he is capable of.roan. they wouldn't confirm whether the hostages had been released or escaped. but we heard he became quite agitated when the initial hostages were let out of the cafe. so we saw a group of three, then another group of two and now the
latest hostages, that's when all of this violence erupted here in sydney. >> kathy, stand by, i'm getting new information. we understand two people are dead. do we know if those two people were hostages? i'm asking my producers right now. do we know? we do not know. but we do know that two are confirmed dead, three are in serious condition we heard from the australian tv reporters that at least seven people were taken out of that shop on stretchers. we heard that one police officer might have been injured but as you know details are slowly coming out. often in these breaking situations information is conflicted and sometimes wrong but we have confirmed, sadly, that two people have died in light of this incident. i'll be right back.
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the hostage drama in sydney australia playing out for the last 16 hours appears to be over at this hour. police say that the siege is over. we have reason to believe that the gunman may have been killed although we can't confirm that as of yet. we do know that australian broadcaster abc is reporting two
people are dead and three are in serious condition. australian reporters say seven people came out on stretchers from that coffee chocolate shop and were taken to area hospitals. a reporter for sydney "daily beast" has been covering this story since it began. courtney -- i apologize if i've butchered your last name. she joins us by phone. tell us what you're learning. >> so obviously the situation has escalated here the new south wales place has declared the siege as over but we're uncertain if this was an operation or if something unfolded inside and authorities were forced to act. but ambulances are on the scene. paramedics are taking people out on gurnies. and, again, it just escalated pretty quickly, much like it started this morning. >> hostages were escaping here
and there. some escaped yesterday but this incident where police went into the store seem to be sparked by more hostages running from the building. >> yes, that is correct. there have been reports that anywhere between five and seven hostages came out just before police did storm the cafe and there are sounds of gunfire or some type of explosion. it's not clear. so the police have most of the area cordoned off. it's been hard for anyone to get near the scene.
so so this came to a sad end. tell us what the past 16 hours have been like. >> i spent the day at martin place just before the cafe. it was early calm despite the situation. people were gathered around almost like watching a spectacle rather than treating it as a hostage crisis. i spoke to a few residents who were evacuated due to the situation and i got the sense that this is just something australians aren't programmed to respond to. they're removed from terrorist attacks and so it was very surreal for a lot of throughout the day, even when we saw some of these hostages being released people remained very calm and composed and this situation might have been a little bit different back in the united
states but here everything seemed to be very organized and tight-lipped with the police and, again, just onlookers remain very calm the whole time. >> i'm wondering if it will make any difference to people. the suspect is a self-described sheik, he had a long criminal history. he's accused of hiring someone to kill his ex-wife. well, i don't know how to ask the question but we always think terrorism, of course, he had some inspiration from isis, right? he was requesting an isis flag and he wanted to talk to the prime minister. what will australians make of this suspect? >> i think he has a history as you said of -- a quite checkered history. the authorities knew who he was. they knew who they were dealing with so i think especially light of the situation you've seen a
lot of sydney residents show solidarity with the muslim community and there have even been -- there was a hashtag on twitter, i think it was "i'll ride with you." basically a bunch of sydney residents offering to share public transportation with anyone in the muslim community who was feeling nervous about any sort of tension with religious intolerance or any sort of backlash with this understand dent. so i think now that we have identified the gunman and have noted that he has a very sordid past, you know, i think the muslim community especially will rest a little easier. and i think police are definitely prepared if there's a backlash. but i don't have a sense there will be. >> all right, courtney, a
contributor for the daily beast in sydney, thank you so much. you're watching continuing coverage of the hostage drama that's just ended in sydney, australia. we'll be right back. i can... order safety goggles. play music for seedlings. post science fair projects. schedule guinea pig feedings. video chemical reactions. take pics of mr. bones. time the next launch. calm down principal jones. i can do all that with my android from tracfone. 90-day plans start as low as $20. unbeatable nationwide coverage. no contract. for a limited time save $20 on the zte valet. now just $49.00. tracfone. do everything for less.
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confirmed dead and three are in serious condition in all we believe seven people were taken from that coffee shop by stretcher to area hospitals. we're still trying to find out information from them. by all accounts the siege is over and we do believe the gunman is dead. i want to bring in terrorism and hostage negotiation expert professor adam dullnick, he joins me now by phone. welcome. >> hello, good evening. >> thank you for being here. australian police have been training for this sort of thing for months. from what you saw on television, did they do the right things? >> as far as i can tell, everything went very, very well from the negotiations perspective. in a administration like this the tactical element and negotiation element worked together. the negotiators are very well trained over the last eight
years for this situation. there are many people in the command of the police, counterterrorism who are former negotiators who understand how this works. i think they provided a lot of time for the negotiators unfortunately, the outcome is not what we would like to see. >> what were some of the more serious challenges for police? >> i think the challenge from beginning uz s to establish a motive. it's clear this person did not have strong isis links and he probably wouldn't have been as egotistical. also another challenge was to control the social media aspect and all the messages that are out in a negotiation like this, you want to monopolize the communications so you're the only one influenced by the
hostage taker inside. [ inaudible ] >> professor adam dolnik, thank you. i appreciate it. and thank you for joining me today. i'm carol costello. "@this hour with berman and michaela" starts now. >> hello, everyone, i'm john berman. >> i'm michaela pereira. we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the globe. at this hour, the hostage situation in the heart of sydney, australia, is over. nearly 17 hours after it began according to the police there, it did not end peacefully. there are reports of two deaths and three serious injuries. just a short time ago police stormed the lindt cafe where a man identified as 50-year-old iranian native man haron monis held people hostage. >> you can see it all developed around 2