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Met Police Sergeant fatally shot in Croydon named as Matt Ratana
25 September 2020, 20:09 | Updated: 25 September 2020, 21:11
A police officer who died after being shot at a police station in Croydon, south London, has been named as 54-year-old Matiu Ratana.
Sgt Ratana - known to his family and friends as Matt - died in the early hours of the morning after being shot inside Croydon Custody Centre.
Met Police Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick said he was known as a "big guy" with a "big heart", who leaves behind a partner and an adult son from a previous relationship.
She said: "A lovely man, respected by his colleagues, officers, staff and of course by members of the public, including, I may say, suspects arrested or dealt with in custody.
"He was very well known locally and he will be remembered so fondly in Croydon and missed there, as well as in the Met and in the rugby world."
He had moved to the UK in 1989 and served in the Met for almost 30 years, having joined the force in 1991.
He was the captain of his recruit training class, before being posted to Charing Cross where he worked as a constable on the streets of the West End and Westminster in various roles.
Later, he worked with the Territorial Support Group and in Hillingdon.
In 2010 he worked as a sergeant in Hackney in the response team and in neighbourhoods. Five years later, in 2015, he moved to Croydon, where he worked in response, in neighbourhoods and then our detention command.
Sgt Ratana died in hospital after the 23-year-old gunman opened fire at Croydon Custody Centre in south London in the early hours of Friday.
The suspect, who had been arrested for possession of Class B drugs with intent to supply and possession of ammunition, also shot himself during the incident at about 2.15am and is in a critical but stable condition in hospital.
For years this man, this hero, this skipper was the centrepiece of community policing in Hackney. He shaped the lives of many. Be that victims, suspects or colleagues.— Hackney Police (gov.uk/coronavirus) (@MPSHackney) September 25, 2020
Sgt Ratana was the best. Gone, but most definitely not forgotten#SgtMattRatana pic.twitter.com/YGnIzAV6Ww
He was handcuffed to the rear, investigators said, while officers prepared to search him using a metal detector.
Shots were then fired, leaving the police officer dead and the suspect in critical condition in hospital with a gunshot wound.
Initial enquiries have suggested he turned the gun on himself during the incident shortly after 2am this morning.
The firearm was a non-police issue revolver.
Sgt Ratana was described as an 'inspiration' who was looking forward to retirement.
A friend who played rugby with him said: "The man was a machine. He went from training with us last night to come to his shift work here in Croydon. He would do that week in and week out."
An investigation has since been launched into his murder.
Steve Reed MP told LBC: "This officer was known in this community. I’d met him as well and it makes the loss all the harder to bear.
"This was not just a police officer, this was a human being and it hurts immensely to so many of us in this community to think that he’s gone.
"All of our thoughts are with the family for this really tragic loss.
"There will be lessons to be leant in time but today is just a day for grief and mourning."
Prime Minister Boris Johnson was among those who reacted to the news on Friday morning, tweeting: "My deepest condolences go to the family, friends and colleagues of the police officer who was killed in Croydon last night.
"We owe a huge debt to those who risk their own lives to keep us safe."
Home Secretary Priti Patel said: "I'm deeply shocked and saddened by the tragic killing of the officer in Croydon overnight.
"All our thoughts are with the officer's family, friends and colleagues across the Metropolitan Police force, but also policing family across the country.
"This is a sad day for our country as once again we see the tragic killing of a police officer in the line of duty as they're trying to protect us and keep us safe."
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan added: "I am devastated by the news a Metropolitan Police officer has lost his life.
"I was informed of this tragic incident by the Commissioner this morning, and my heart goes out to the family of this brave officer, who has paid the ultimate price for helping to keep Londoners safe."
More to follow...