Swiss school grad ‘hero’ among café siege victims

Swiss school grad 'hero' among café siege victims
Photo: César Ritz Colleges/Facebook
César Ritz Colleges, a Swiss hotel management school group, issued a tribute on its Facebook page to a former graduate who died while trying to end this week’s café hostage-taking incident in Sydney, Australia that left three people dead and five people injured.

Tori Johnson, 34, manager of the Lindt Chocolate Café in Sydney’s central business district, was identified as one of the victims of Monday’s siege, along with a 38-year-old lawyer and hostage taker Man Haron Monis, 50.

Johnson, who attended César Ritz Colleges, tried to wrest a sawed-off shotgun from Iranian-born Monis when he appeared to doze off but in the ensuing scuffle he died from a bullet to the head, according to Australian media reports.

Several hostages were able to escape while this was going on before police stormed the restaurant, killing Monis, described as a "fringe Islamist", in the process.

“Every one of us has been touched by the tragic news of the passing of a member of our family,” reads a statement on César Ritz College’s Facebook page.

“So many wonderful memories have been pouring in from classmates and friends during his time at César Ritz Colleges in 2002-2003,” the statement says.

“His courage and actions during the Sydney siege will always be remembered.”

The school group passes on condolences to Johnson’s family and partner, identified as Thomas Zinn.

César Ritz Colleges offers specialized training in the tourism and hospitality industry.

It has one campus in Lucerne and two others in the canton of Valais in Brig and Le Bouveret.

Johnson, son of Australian artist Ken Johsnon, took a two-year course at the institution before becoming manager of the Lindt Chocolate Café at Martin Place in Sydney in 2012.

The café is one of eight operated in Australia by Zurich-based chocolate maker Lindt & Sprüngli.

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