Editorial: Hero who stood up to the killer

from page 3 of The Daily Telegraph, May 1, 1996

[no by-line]

  If anyone was going to stand up to a killer it was going to be Sydney executive Andrew Mills -- who had just moved to Tasmania for a safe, quiet life.
  As Martin Bryant pulled a rifle from his bag at the Broad Arrow Cafe on Sunday afternoon it was Mr Mills who reacted.
  With his close friend, Salvation Army volunteer Tony Kistan, he rose to his feet in an attempt to prevent the violence.
  Their actions cost them their lives -- among the first claimed by the gunman's bullet.
  Mills' friends in Sydney yesterday described the former Summer Hill man as an "angel".
  Yesterday the last heroic moments of the two friends' lives emerged.
  As people in the cafe took cover Mr Mills and Mr Kistan stood, Mr Kistan shielding his wife who survived the killing.
  She has told friends of the two men's heroism.
  "It is just the type of thing Andrew would do," grieving friend Sandra Groom told The Daily Telegraph yesterday.
  "He would be just the type of person to stand up and say 'cool it'.
  "They thought they could reason with him. But that was it."
  Yesterday, as more details emerged from the death scene at Port Arthur, the story of Mr Mills' heroism unfolded.
  "He was a living angel," said Mr Mills's partner David Capper who was working in Hobart at time of the massacre.
  "Summer Hill is devastated, they have lost two people."
  Mr Mills and Mr Capper moved to Port Arthur eight weeks ago for a quiet and safer life.
  "They moved to Tasmania two weeks ago and the plan was to open a guest house," said Ms Groom.
  "Tony Kistan and his wife Sarah had just gone down to visit for a week."
  The two couples were due to go to the cafe on Saturday but postponed it until Sunday.
  Mr Capper had to work on that day at the Clarence Hotel and stayed behind in Hobart, which probably saved his life.
  Mr Mills' and Mr Kistan's bravery also saved Sarah Kistan.
  As Mr Kistan lay dying in her arms he whispered: "I am going to be with the Lord now".
  Mr Capper watched on television as the horror unfolded, before realising Mr Mills was there.
  He raced home and received a phone call.
  "They are dead aren't they," Mr Capper was believed to have said. The answer was yes.
  A manager with Sydney chemical firm CIBA, Mr Mills spent his spare time committed to community and education programs in particular an education program called Landmark.
  He organised the Summer Hill street fair and many other local events.
  "His hobby was other people," said Ms Groom.
  "And he was David's rock. Now David is on his own.
  "They did everything together; It's funny, lots of people who met them were touched by their relationship."
  Ms Groom said that Mr Capper had told her: "I don't understand why but some good has to come out of this.
  "There has to be changes to the gun laws," he had said.
  Mr Capper has decided he will return to Sydney.

[images: "Andrew Mills... one of the first to be shot dead at Port Arthur while trying to reason with Bryant", "Tony Kistan of Summer Hill" (15x24) ]

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