Local News

'No one could believe it:' NC man watched Sydney hostage ordeal unfold

Posted December 15, 2014

— A Person County man traveling on business in Australia says he witnessed the 16-hour hostage standoff that ended early Tuesday with three people dead and several others injured inside a café in the country's capital city.

"No one could believe it," Chris Blocker-Brodfuehrer said by telephone from Sydney. "They kept asking me, 'Well, you're an American. How do you all deal with this? You're used to this.'"

Blocker-Brodfuehrer, of Hurdle Mills, said he had spent part of Monday morning shopping at Sydney's Martin Place and returned an hour after he left to find Lindt Chocolat Café surrounded by police.

He went back to his nearby hotel and watched with other guests as the ordeal unfolded.

Australian TV stations broadcast images of people inside with their arms in the air and hands pressed against a window. Police evacuated nearby buildings and, during the hostage situation, five people escaped.

It ended after midnight local time with a barrage of gunfire that left two hostages – a 34-year-old man and a 38-year-old woman – and the gunman dead.

"You just see all this light flashing through the windows and hearing the gunshots go off, so it was extremely scary," Blocker-Brodfuehrer said.

Four others, including a police officer, were wounded.

Australia Prime Minister Tony Abbott said the gunman, Man Haron Monis, 50, claimed "political motivation" and described him as having "a long history of violent crime, infatuation with extremism and mental instability."

What his motive might have been, however, is still unclear.

What's certain, Blocker-Brodfuehrer said, is a collective sadness in a city and country that sees relatively little violent crime.

"They're such a warm and energetic people," he said. "Today, it's very quiet, of course. Everyone's very sad, and it's just heartbreaking to see the spirit of the city really deflated from this."


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  • Gary Lasereyes Dec 17, 2014

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    Not after this weekend. Guns had nothing to do with it. It was a crazy religious zealot who refused to assimilate much like the border jumpers you want to coddle because you feel sorry for them

  • andreanicole686 Dec 16, 2014

    View quoted thread

    Perfectly said. They are much safer than us.

  • Bill Brasky Dec 16, 2014

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    No, the problem is US has thousands of miles of borders, unlike Australia. With Central America being mostly 3rd World Countries, and US companies advertising American jobs in Central American newspapers, it makes perfect sense for them to risk coming here. If we want to pull the problem out by the root we go after companies hiring instead of burdening our court system with a nonstop flow of people coming into this country. Makes perfect sense.

  • nobodyknow420 Dec 16, 2014

    No one could believe it???? Did they hear that guys past criminal acts???? Australia should not be so blinded.

  • Lightfoot3 Dec 16, 2014

    "To bad Australia have been denied them selves the right to defend themselves and their families" - 68_dodge_polara

    Totally agree. Now too families are grieving. And what a total failure by police. The terrorist practically paraded in front of the window. Don't they have snipers?

    "mmmm....Australia is an island continent...lol" - Bill Brasky

    And they still have immigration policies.

  • Gary Lasereyes Dec 16, 2014

    View quoted thread

    Hey Bill you ever heard of these thing called boats and cargo ships? They tend to move things and people sometimes from one place to another across the water. The point is Australia has pretty much put out the word that the risk is not worth the reward. We in the US need to do that. But the problem is you bleeding hearts want to treat them like stray cats so they keep coming back.

  • Bill Brasky Dec 16, 2014

    View quoted thread

    Australia has one hostage standoff in how many years, compared to the US that has daily hostage standoffs. Yet, 68Dodge_polara argument is that they need to be more like us. How does that make any sense?

    Also, ever since Australia regulated guns, they have seen a 70% drop in murder by guns.

  • Bill Brasky Dec 16, 2014

    View quoted thread

    mmmm....Australia is an island continent...lol

  • Gary Lasereyes Dec 16, 2014

    View quoted thread

    I agree. But we could take a few pages from their immigration policies. If they find you there illegally they pack you a lunch and send you home. End of story.

  • 68_dodge_polara Dec 15, 2014

    To bad Australia have been denied them selves the right to defend themselves and their families.