By Tony Winterburn •
Published: 25 Sep 2020 • 22:25
The firearms suspect who shot dead a police sergeant doing a COVID-19 check inside the police station this morning was on Prevent’s ‘potential terror threat’ list – Scotland Yard now faces serious questions about just how the weapon was missed.
According to initial reports, the detained man was said to have been about to be assessed and have his temperature and details taken as part of new booking rules put in place due to the coronavirus pandemic after arriving at Croydon custody centre in South London.
Somehow, the suspect shot the officer point-blank – allegedly in the chest. This took place at about 2.15 am this morning following the suspect’s arrest on suspicion of possessing ammunition. Officers and paramedics then treated the officer – who was said to have been two months away from retirement – at the scene before he was taken to hospital where he later died.
The detained man – who is reportedly still alive in hospital despite turning the gun on himself – had been arrested by a special constable accompanied by a normal officer on patrol after he was seen behaving strangely. The pair searched him and allegedly found ammunition on him. They then handcuffed him before driving him in a patrol car to the custody centre where the tragedy happened.
The man is understood to have been put into a holding cell, which is standard procedure. The officer who died then opened the door to get the suspect’s personal details and go through the station’s COVID-19 protocol with him. It is believed that the suspect then produced the gun and shot the officer. Commissioner Cressida Dick added: ‘Early indications are that the suspect shot himself. This has not yet been established as fact. The man remains in a critical condition in the hospital.’
The officer that was killed has been named as Sgt Ratana who joined the Met in 1991, having moved to the UK in 1989. He was originally from the Hawke’s Bay area of New Zealand and was educated at Palmerston North Boy’s High School’s, a town north of the capital, Wellington. He served in various parts of London including Hackney and Selhurst, with his last posting as custody sergeant in Croydon, where he managed suspects who are brought into the cells. It is understood he had just two months to go before his retirement.
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