Three dead, including gunman, in Sydney siege

Posted at 2:28 AM, Dec 15, 2014
and last updated 2015-12-10 02:28:54-05

Police are offering more details about the deadly end to a hostage siege at a cafe in, Australia.

It ended early Tuesday -- local time -- after more than 16 hours. Police say they raided the cafe after they heard a number of gunshots from inside. When it was over, the gunman and two of the hostages were dead, and four others were wounded.

The wounded include a police officer who was shot in the face.

PHOTOS | See photos from the scene of the standoff in Sydney

A state police commissioner says police believed that if they didn't raid the cafe when they did, "there would have been many more lives lost."

Police aren't saying whether the hostages who died, a 34-year-old man and a 38-year-old woman, were caught in the crossfire or shot by the gunman. They say there were a total of 17 hostages taken in the cafe when the siege began.

The gunman is identified as Man Haron Monis, originally from Iran, who once was prosecuted for sending offensive letters to families of Australian troops killed in Afghanistan. And he was later charged with being an accessory to the murder of his ex-wife. Earlier this year, he was charged in the sexual assault of a woman in 2002.