Tuesday, December 16, 2014


A gay man's courage in the face of imminent death helped most hostages at his café in the heart of Sydney to escape ... though he paid for his bravery with his life.

Worshipers of Antinous in Australia and New Zealand have nominated Tori Johnson as a Saint of Antinous for wrestling a gunman to the ground ... giving a chance for others to flee to safety.

Tori, an openly gay man who had been with his partner Thomas Zinn for 14 years, was the manager of Lindt Chocolat Café in busy Martin Square in the heart of the financial district of Sydney. He was on duty when an Islamic radical held the staff and customers as hostages for 11 hours yesterday.

The gunman was identified as Man Haron Monis who was an a radical cleric.

Tori, 34, who was one of two persons killed during the Sydney siege, is being remembered as a hero for trying to snatch the weapon from the gunman to allow the other hostages to escape. 

Tori died in hospital after being shot by the gunman inside the cafe Monday. 

He was the son of acclaimed Australian artist Ken Johnson and his former wife Rowena. 

His parents and his lover huddled at Tori's home in the Redfern section of Sydney as reporters converged on the house.

"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," the family said in a statement.

Friends of Tori described him on Tuesday as "a loving, placid and very gentle soul ... a true gentleman".

Co-workers said they were not the least bit surprised at his bravery.

"He was an amazing man," said Peter Manettas, who worked with Tori for nearly seven years. 

"He was a selfless person who always put staff above everyone," Manettas said. "He always put himself second."

Others spoke of his loving compassion for everyone, even strangers.

When Tori heard of a 6-year-old boy (photo at left) who had never eaten a candy Easter egg because of a rare food-allergy disorder, Tori invited the boy and his family to the café. 

He created a giant Easter egg made entirely of pure chocolate … one of the few foods that the boy could eat safely.

"My son still talks about it all the time," said the boy's mother, Mercedez Hinchcliff. "It taught him that some people do go out of their way for other people."

Mrs Hinchcliff said she was heartbroken when she found out that Mr Johnson was among the victims of the Lindt cafe siege. She hoped his parents would take some comfort by hearing of their son's kind gesture towards her children. 

"We are devastated to hear of his passing and wish to pass along our appreciation of him and our deepest condolences to his family. We will always remember him fondly."

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