LONDON – A British police officer was shot dead inside a London police station early Friday by a suspect he was detaining, who then appears to have turned the gun on himself. Investigators said the suspect was handcuffed at the time.
London’s Metropolitan Police force said Sgt. Matiu Ratana, 54, was shot at the Croydon Custody Center in the south of the city just after 2 a.m. He was taken to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead.
The 23-year-old man being detained is in critical condition in a hospital with a gunshot wound. The case is not being treated as terrorism.
Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick said “early indications are that the suspect shot himself."
Dick said Ratana, originally from New Zealand, had been in the police force for almost 30 years and leaves a partner and an adult son.
“We are all deeply shocked and saddened.,” she said. “The Met is a family. Policing is a family, within London and across the United Kingdom, and today we are all mourning a great loss.”
The force has launched a murder inquiry. Watchdog body the Independent Office for Police Conduct is also investigating.
Its regional director, Sal Naseem, said the suspect had been arrested for possession of drugs and possession of ammunition and taken to the holding facility in a police vehicle. He was handcuffed behind his back when shots were fired, “resulting in the fatal injuries to the officer and critical injuries to the man.”