A long-serving London Metropolitan police officer was shot and killed Friday at Croydon Custody Centre in south London
Just shy of his third decade on the force, police veteran Sgt. Matt Ratana, was shot in the chest before the suspect turned the firearm on himself
The 23-year-old male suspect is in a critical condition in hospital, after he shot himself in the head inside the police station, in a failed suicide bid
Sergeant Matt Ratana, 54, was hailed by Met Commissioner Cressida Dick tonight as a “big guy with a big heart” who had served the Force for 29 years
The man had been brought to the custody suite in a police vehicle and pulled the handgun from his pants and shot Sgt. Ratana as he was about to undergo a Covid temperature check inside the station
The alleged shooter was arrested for possession of class B drugs with intent to supply and possession of ammunition
The suspect, who is believed to have been known to the counter-terror unit, having been on their radar for a while
A long-serving UK police officer was shot dead Friday afternoon, at Croydon Custody Centre, located in the Windmill Road center, south London.
Sergeant Matt Ratana was hailed by London’s Met police Commissioner Cressida Dick on Friday night as a “big guy with a big heart” who had served the Force for 29 years.
Sergeant Ratana, 54, was shot in the chest before the suspect turned the firearm on himself. A 23-year-old male suspect is in a critical condition in hospital.
The alleged shooter had been brought to the custody suit in a police vehicle and the shooting happened during questioning about Covid-19.
The victim, who has not been named, is thought to have been a few weeks away from retirement and was described as “one of a kind” by a colleague.
Meanwhile investigations will try and unravel how a suspect in custody for ammunition possession managed to come in possession of a handgun and how it was missed in searches.
Sgt. Ratana died in hospital after being gunned down by a handcuffed inmate at Croydon custody center at around 2.15am Friday morning
The 23-year-old suspect, who is believed to have been known to counter-terror cops, is fighting for his life in hospital after shooting himself in the head inside the station.
It is believed that special constables failed to find the gun when the man was arrested on suspicion of possessing ammunition in South London minutes before the attack.
The suspect is then said to have pulled the revolver from his trousers and fired at Sgt Ratana as he was about to undergo a Covid temperature check inside the station.
Desperate colleagues battled to save Ratana’s life before he was rushed to hospital, where he died shortly after arrival.
Ratana, from Sussex, had served with the department for 28 years after moving to the UK from his native New Zealand. He was also a part time rugby coach.
Met chief Cressida said the policing family was “deeply shocked and very sad” following the death of the officer.
“I have visited and spoken to our officer’s partner together with other colleagues and we are of course giving her the best support we can,” she said
“My heartfelt condolences go to her, to their family, to his colleagues and his close friends.
“A murder investigation is under way and officers are working at several crime scenes to secure evidence and to establish the facts of what happened.
“Early indications are that the suspect shot himself, this has not yet of course been established as a fact.”
Det Insp Richard Berns described his colleague as “hard working and an inspiration to all who knew him”.
“It was a privilege to have worked with him and known him over so many years,” he said.
“He was was one of a kind and will be deeply missed. Rest in peace my friend.”
Community police officer Jacqueline Kufuor was among those laying flowers outside the custody center in tribute to her colleague. She described the officer as “a lovely guy” and “the nicest man I have ever met”.
An investigation by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) is under way and will have several strands, our correspondent Danny Shaw added.
“It’s likely to focus on the circumstances of the man’s arrest – which officers were deployed during the operation; whether and how the suspect was searched; and if he was put into handcuffs,” he said.
“The IOPC will also need to establish what happened at the police station and whether appropriate measures were put in place when the suspect was taken out of the police van.”
The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said the police were currently “reviewing the safety of custody suites” and “there could be changes very soon to custody suites to make sure they are as safe as they can be”.
The suspect in the fatal shooting reportedly, was in handcuffs when shots were fired in the Croydon custody center. IOPC regional director Sal Naseem said: “What we have established is that the man was arrested for possession of class B drugs with intent to supply and possession of ammunition.
man was arrested for possession of class B drugs with intent to supply and possession of ammunition.
“A non-police issue firearm, which appears to be a revolver, has been recovered from the scene. Further ballistic work will be required.”
Questions will be asked on how the gun was apparently missed when the suspect was initially searched, after being seen acting suspiciously in Croydon town center.
It is understood he was being booked in for possession of ammunition.
Sgt Ratana’s colleagues wrote an emotional tribute to him this morning, saying: “Today we lost an honourable, brave and dedicated family member.”
A number of serving and former police officers changed their social media profile pictures to black, with a blue line, Friday as a mark of respect.
A flag outside Croydon police station was also lowered to half mast as forensics officers combed the scene.
Ken Marsh, chairman of the Met Police Federation, said news of the shooting was “utterly devastating”.
“Officers across London are in shock and sick to their stomachs at the nature of his death,” he said.
“Sadly, on very rare occasions officers make the ultimate sacrifice whilst fulfilling their role.
“When that happens we will ensure their bravery and sacrifice is never forgotten.”
Earlier, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “We owe a huge debt to those who risk their own lives to keep us safe.”
In a twitter post he adds: “My deepest condolences go to the family, friends and colleagues of the police officer who was killed in Croydon last night.”
A number of police officers have also been turning their social media profile pictures black with a blue stripe to pay their respect to the officer.