Esperance police pay respect to Sydney siege victims

The Australian flag is flying at half mast today.

The Australian flag is flying at half mast today.

Esperance Police are flying the Australian flag at half mast today as a mark of respect to the victims of the Sydney siege. 

A gunman held a total of 17 people hostage in the Lindt Chocolat Cafe in Martin Place in Sydney over 16 hours, with the ordeal coming to an end just after 2am today. 

At 2.03am, seven hostages were seen running from the cafe out onto the street and seconds later, heavily armed police stormed into the cafe after responding to gunfire inside the building.

Three people were killed in the siege, including the lone gunman, Man Haron Monis who was shot dead. The victims were 38-year-old Sydney barrister Katrina Dawson and the manager of the Lindt Chocolat Cafe, 34-year-old Tori Johnson. 

A number of hostages, some with injuries, were taken by ambulance to Royal North Shore and Royal Prince Alfred Hospitals.

Senior Sergeant Richard Moore of the Esperance Police Station said the Australian flag was flown at half mast at the station today as a mark of respect to the victims. It would be flown at half mast all day, he said. 

"It's tragic what's happened," Snr Sgt Moore said. 

He said the Australian community had woken to the news that the Sydney siege had ended in tragedy and many would have felt for those involved. 

During the ordeal police cordoned off Martin Place and cafe staff and customers could be seen pressed against windows with hands raised. Hostages were holding a black flag with white Islamic writing on it. It was not an Islamic State flag.

Meanwhile, Snr Sgt Moore said anyone who noticed suspicious activity around places such as the Port Authority or utility sites should contact the national security hotline on 1800 123 400.