The inquest into the Sydney siege has heard it was feared a shot fired at hostages may have been an attempt to draw police into the stronghold.
Police didn't storm the Lindt Cafe after gunman Man Haron Monis shot at escaping hostages because it was feared he may have been trying to draw them into the stronghold for a firefight or planning to detonate a bomb, an inquest has heard.
It was at about 2.03am when Monis fired his shotgun for the first time during the siege, narrowly missing a group of hostages as they fled the building.
But the police tactical commander during the operation, who has served for 30 years as a special forces commando in the Australian army, told the inquest into the December 2014 siege the shot still wasn't enough to trigger the so-called Emergency Action plan, to be enacted if there was imminent risk of loss of life or serious injury.
"We knew that the terrorist right now was at a most heightened state of alert. A quick conversation was had about the potential for him to be drawing us into that stronghold and then detonating (a bomb) or killing the hostages or police as they entered," he told the inquest on Tuesday.
The cafe manager, Tori Johnson, was executed by Monis 10 minutes later, prompting police to storm the cafe. Monis was killed by police, while hostage Katrina Dawson died after being hit by police bullet fragments.
When pressed by counsel assisting the inquest, Jeremy Gormly SC, as to why the EA trigger had not been reached despite a shot being fired, the tactical commander added that no hostage harmed at that stage.
The officer later conceded under questioning from Michael O'Connell SC, counsel for the family of Katrina Dawson, that he was aware that after an earlier escape Monis had threatened to kill hostages if any more fled the building.
Mr O'Connell: "At the time when your attention is directed to the screens and you're informed that hostages escaped you were mindful of the fact that this terrorist had now fired a gun and had also previously threatened to kill remaining hostages, correct?"
Tactical commander: "That's correct."
However, the tactical commander also gave evidence that he was never told that Mr Johnson was seen by other officers being ordered to kneel at about 2.13am on December 16, 2014.
"My recommendation ... would have been to initiate the EA," he said.
He told the inquest that he did not believe there were ever any viable options for snipers to take out Monis during the 17-hour stand-off.
There were three snipers at three buildings around Martin Place on the night of the siege: at Channel Seven, Westpac and the Reserve Bank.
"I don't believe there was any live shooting options from those positions," he said.
The inquest continues.