NZ-born police officer shot dead in UK

Londoners have paid tribute to a police officer who was fatally shot at Croydon Custody Centre.
Londoners have paid tribute to a police officer who was fatally shot at Croydon Custody Centre.

A police officer who was shot dead by a prison inmate while on duty in a detention centre in London has been named as 54-year-old Sergeant Matiu Ratana.

Ratana, who died on Friday after being shot at a police station in south London, leaves behind a partner and adult son, Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick said.

Ratana was originally from New Zealand and joined the force in 1991.

He was "big in stature, big in heart, friendly, capable, a lovely man and highly respected by his colleagues," she said.

Ratana was shot in the early hours of Friday and taken to hospital where he died of his serious injuries, the Metropolitan Police said.

A 23-year-old suspect has been arrested and is being treated in hospital in a critical condition with allegedly self-inflicted gunshot wounds, police said.

A murder investigation has been launched.

Officers said no police weapons were used in the incident.

It remains unclear how the suspect got hold of a gun.

He had reportedly escaped from his cell while officials questioned him and attempted to follow coronavirus protocols.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson expressed his condolences to Ratana's relatives, saying: "We owe a huge debt to those who risk their own lives to keep us safe."

Australian Associated Press