Police Officer Shot Dead At London Custody Suite Named As Matt Ratana
The police officer who died after being shot in Croydon Custody Centre today has been named as Sgt Matt Ratana.
Mr Ratana was described as 'talented' and 'big in stature, big in heart'.
Speaking at a press conference today, Met Police commissioner Cressida Dick said: "His colleagues knew him as a big guy. Big in stature, big in heart, friendly, capable, a lovely man, respected by his colleagues.
"He was very well known locally and he will be remembered so fondly in Croydon and missed there, as well as in the Met."
A minute's silence was held at 4pm at New Scotland Yard and Croydon Police Station to pay tribute to the officer, who moved from New Zealand in 1989 and served with the force for 30 years.
It was reported by the BBC that the shooting happened while the suspect was being questioned about Covid-19.
According to a statement from the Metropolitan Police, the officer was shot by a man who had been detained at the centre at 2.15am this morning.
Paramedics and fellow officers treated him at the scene, before he was rushed to hospital, but tragically he died.
The 23-year-old suspect was detained by officers at the scene. He was also taken into hospital where he remains in a critical condition.
As reported by Sky News, Mr Ratana's friend, Paul, who he played rugby with, said: "He helped out at the club a lot. We lost funding and he came in and helped us.
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"He was inspirational - so vibrant, so bubbly, larger than life. He will be a huge loss to the club.
"The man was a machine. He was at training last night from 7 to 9pm.
"That's the last time I saw him. He was due to retire soon and was looking forward to it."
The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) has launched a murder investigation into the incident.
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.
"The man was handcuffed to the rear before being transported to Croydon custody suite in a police vehicle where he was escorted into the building.
"He remained handcuffed to the rear and seated in a holding area in the custody suite. His handcuffs remained in place while officers prepared to search him using a metal detector.
"It is at the point that shots were fired resulting in the fatal injuries to the officer and critical injuries to the man.
"A non-police issue firearm, which appears to be a revolver, has been recovered from the scene. Further ballistic work will be required."
Featured Image Credit: Rumsey Films