Australia was rocked by a rare episode of gun violence on Tuesday, when a tense hostage siege in Sydney came to an end after police pushed into a downtown cafe and exchanged gunfire with the suspect. The gunman, reportedly armed with a pump-action shotgun, was killed by police, who entered the store after gunfire was heard inside. Two hostages also died, though it was unclear whether they were killed by the hostage-taker or by police who sought to free them.
The battle at the Lindt Chocolat Cafe in the heart of Sydney initially looked more complicated than a "damaged goods individual" with a gun, as the gunman's former lawyer recently described him. There were reports of possible explosives, an ominous display of a flag with an inscription of the Islamic declaration of faith, and rumorsthat the gunman may have ties to other terror suspects.