Ex-FBI official: Hostage-taker in Sydney cafe siege appears to be 'lone wolf'

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By Eun Kyung Kim

A gunman who had been holding hostages inside a Sydney café appeared to support the ideology of ISIS — and was likely working alone, a counter-terrorism expert told TODAY's Savannah Guthrie on Monday.

The gunman was later identified as Sheikh Haron, an intelligence source told NBC News. Authorities confirmed that three people were killed during the siege, including the gunman. The standoff ended after police stormed the store

Earlier on TODAY, NBC analyst Don Borelli, a former senior FBI official, urged caution. 

“It appears that this is a lone wolf style attack, at least inspired by ISIS, based on his demand for wanting an ISIS flag and apparently speaking to a radio personality in Australia saying that everybody’s wrong about ISIS,” 

“It seems like he is supporting the ISIS ideology. Whether he’s ever had any direct contact with him or if he’s just inspired by them? Too early to tell,” Borelli said.

Borelli also addressed:

  • The gunman appears to be driven by a different incentive than another ISIS-fueled attack that occurred recently in the Canadian parliament: "This person seems to have some kind of political motivation, wants to speak to the prime minister, wants the media attention, even the location seems to be somewhat strategic, knowing that he would get a lot of attention.”

  • On whether the gunman was reacting to a recent call by an ISIS spokesman who urged Western nations, including Australia, to conduct attacks: “It could very well be. We’ve seen the effectiveness of social media and how it drives these people to action. This could be part of that. We just don’t know. As the investigation unfolds we’ll see, but at this point, it’s likely.”

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