Mem­bers of the SOG squad in Port Arthur on April 28, 1996. Edited ex­tract from Sons of God, by Heath O’lough­lin, pub­lished by Macmil­lan Aus­tralia, RRP $34.99.

whether he had a hostage in front of him or not. Sierra was faced with a choice that would have had enor­mous con­se­quences. In his sights was Aus­tralia’s worst mass mur­derer, and he had the op­por­tu­nity to take him down and end the mad­ness on be­half of all

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scream­ing be­cause the flames con­sumed them. Then, still scream­ing and on fire, the per­son turned to face me and ripped their burn­ing clothes off. I could see a pe­nis and that’s when I knew it was a male. I now knew who I was look­ing at and got a clear view of his face. It was Bryant.

We don’t get paid to take lives in the SOG; we get paid to save them and put crim­i­nals like Bryant be­fore the courts. But I have to ad­mit, when I had Bryant’s head quar­tered in my sights, I was fully pre­pared to take the shot had it been jus­ti­fied. Haze When I first glimpsed Bryant, he was a pa­thetic fig­ure. He looked dazed and con­fused. He didn’t re­act when he saw us ap­proach­ing. Mojo Bryant wasn’t even com­plain­ing of the burns. It was all a bit strange. He was away with the fairies. Take away what hap­pened at Port Arthur and even just fo­cus on Seascape, I mean this bloke has just come out of a burn­ing build­ing that al­most col­lapsed around him be­cause he stayed in there a hell of a long time—but there was just no sub­stance to him. He showed no mal­ice to­wards any­one, just a stupid, jovial at­ti­tude. It was just an­other day to him. The birds were singing, the sun was com­ing up and he was just star­ing at us.

Sierra left his sniper po­si­tion and ran down to as­sist with the ar­rest, and there he came face-to­face with Bryant. [ Hostage Glenn Pears was killed by Bryant be­fore the fire be­gan.] Sierra We ar­rested him like the SOG ar­rests people. He had just killed more than 30 people, in­clud­ing chil­dren, and we weren’t about to treat him with kid gloves. He was writhing in pain and rolling around on the ground after the flames had been ex­tin­guished, but we didn’t make it any more com­fort­able for him. I looked down and he was just laugh­ing. I re­mem­ber star­ing into his pierc­ing, chill­ing blue eyes. There was noth­ing there, just empti­ness. It was so eerie and dis­con­cert­ing for me. That’s some­thing that will stay with me for­ever.

Days after the siege, Haze and Sierra were in a car lis­ten­ing to talk­back ra­dio on 3AW when host Neil Mitchell be­gan to take calls about the Port Arthur tragedy from lis­ten­ers around the coun­try. Haze People were com­plain­ing be­cause we didn’t shoot Bryant and only ar­rested him. We don’t shoot naked, un­armed, pa­thetic in­di­vid­u­als. We’d acted in the most pro­fes­sional way, but still got crit­i­cised. We don’t act on anger, grudges or per­sonal ben­e­fit; we look at things ob­jec­tively and deal with them case by case.

As Sierra and the men grap­pled with the shoot­ings, they thought about the vic­tims, par­tic­u­larly the chil­dren Bryant had killed. Sierra When I got home, I gave my baby a big hug and it meant that much more.

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“I looked down and he was just laugh­ing” —Sierra NEVER FOR­GOT­TEN The mas­sacre be­gan in the Broad Ar­row Cafe, where Carolyn Loughton was hav­ing lunch with daugh­ter Sarah, 15. Sarah was mur­dered. “He came down and he was killing people,” Carolyn told WHO. “I still have night­mares.”

The Port Arthur his­toric site (in 2016). “The brain could not cope with what we were see­ing,” sur­vivor Peter Cross­well told WHO.

The Broad Ar­row Cafe (on May 2, 1996) where 20 people were killed.

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