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Lindt officer 'thought he was dead'

AAP logoAAP 25/07/2016

By Daniel McCulloch

A tactical police officer wounded after storming the Lindt Cafe has described feeling his face "burning up" and thinking he was dead.

The officer believed his team were going to their deaths when they forced entry into the cafe, thinking gunman Man Haron Monis was carrying a bomb.

"I believed that once we entered the cafe none of us were getting out alive," he told the Sydney siege inquest on Tuesday.

The officer told an ambulance officer carting him to hospital, "Man, it was a f*** up", the inquest heard.

The paramedic recalled the conversation in a statement provided to the inquest and read out on Tuesday by the barrister for the family of slain hostage Katrina Dawson.

The officer said he didn't remember the conversation, or going to hospital, but disputed saying those exact words when asked by the paramedic "what happened in there".

"I may have said that was f***ed up, not that was a f*** up, because it was a f***ed up situation. No one wanted to go in there," he said.

After receiving the order to storm inside after cafe manager Tori Johnson was executed, his Alpha team did not hesitate to pounce.

The tactical operative, known as Officer B, designed the "emergency action" plan for police to storm the cafe during the December 2014 siege and was among the first police inside.

The officer stormed through the cafe's main doors and opened fire as his colleague, Officer A, unloaded his weapon with a laser and light source focused on Monis.

Officer B also opened fire, aiming first at the hostage-taker's chest, before lifting his M4 assault rifle and shooting straight at Monis' head.

After offloading five rounds, it felt like he'd been punched hard in the face.

"I then feel burning to the side of my face and feel my head rock backwards," he said.

"I remember being on the ground for a second or two, thinking that I've just been killed."

He came to moments later and scrambled for cover behind a concrete pylon.

By the time he got back to his feet, the gunfire had stopped and heavily-armed officers were swarming the cafe as Monis lay dead on the floor.

The officer initially thought he'd been hit by pellets from Monis' shotgun, but said he now accepted it was more likely he was struck by fragments of police rounds.

The piece of copper was removed from his cheek in late 2015.

The officer originally told colleagues he thought he'd fired his weapon in the assault. Days later, he told investigators he couldn't say.

Weeks later, on a long drive through the country, the scene became clear in his mind.

Michael O'Connell SC, for the family of Ms Dawson who was killed in the crossfire, pressed the witness on exactly when and from where he fired.

He is adamant he didn't fire after he was felled by the shrapnel.

"I'm crystal clear, sir, that I did not fire my weapon when I came to on the ground. I was s***ing myself, took cover and stood up," he said.

The inquest continues.

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