The inquest into the death of Matt Ratana, the police sergeant who was shot and killed in Croydon custody centre last week, has opened.
More details have emerged about the death of the police officer, who was shot in the chest several times with a revolver while performing custody duties.
The 23-year-old suspect was initially arrested on suspicion of possession of drugs and ammunition, but somehow the gun was not discovered.
In the custody centre the suspect drew the gun and fired multiple shots at Sergeant Ratana, also injuring himself.
Sergeant Ratana was pronounced dead later that morning and the suspect remains in a critical condition.
Detective Superintendent Nick Blackburn provided a statement: “At approximately 1.30am on Friday, September 25 uniformed police on routine patrol in the vicinity of Pollards Hill had cause to stop a 23-year-old male, who was detained for the purposes of a search.
“During the search, the officers found items suspected of being controlled drugs and firearms ammunition.
“As a result, the suspect was arrested (on suspicion of) being unlawfully in possession of ammunition and possession of a controlled drug with intent to supply.
“The suspect was handcuffed to the rear and transported in a police vehicle to the police custody centre in Windmill Road, Croydon. Upon arrival, he was taken to a holding room with police officers, where he remained in handcuffs while officers prepared to search him.
“The custody sergeant, Matt Ratana, entered the holding room as part of his duties when the suspect produced a firearm and discharged the weapon several times, during which both Police Sergeant Ratana and the suspect were injured.
“Police and paramedics treated him at the scene and he was taken to hospital by the London Ambulance Service. Tragically, Police Sergeant Ratana’s life was pronounced extinct at 4.10am on Friday, September 25.
“A revolver handgun was recovered from the scene.
“The 23-year-old suspect was detained by police officers and taken to hospital with a gunshot wound and remains in a critical condition. No police firearms were discharged during the incident.
“Preliminary findings were that the cause of death was a gunshot wound to the chest.
“The suspect remains in hospital in a critical condition. Since the suspect was seriously injured while in police custody the Independent Office for Police Conduct have commenced an independent investigation into the circumstances surrounding the incident.
“The Met’s murder investigation is pursuing a number of lines of enquiry and is seeking to establish what happened and why it happened.
“This includes ongoing searches of a number of crime scenes, enquiries relating to the suspect, and reviewing police officers’ body worn video and CCTV at the custody centre.
“The murder of Police Sergeant Matt Ratana has deeply shocked and saddened all of us in the Metropolitan Police as it has the whole nation. Be assured, the Metropolitan Police will conduct a thorough and professional investigation into his murder.”
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