“Today, we police are all mourning a great loss”
The Met Commissioner said the police are all “mourning a great loss” as she paid tribute to the “long-serving” custody sergeant who was shot dead by a suspect in Croydon.
Paramedics were scrambled to Croydon custody centre in Windmill Road at 2.15am. Officers who witnessed the shooting battled to save their colleague’s life.
The alleged killer, 23, is then believed to have turned the firearm on himself. He was arrested and taken to hospital in a critical condition with a gunshot wound.
Met Commissioner Cressida Dick thanked her colleagues and workers from the London Ambulance Service and the London Air Ambulance, who she said “did everything they could” to save the sergeant’s life.
“Today, we police are all mourning a great loss,” she said.
“A murder investigation is under way and officers are working at several crime scenes to secure evidence and to establish the facts of what happened. We are working closely with the Independent Office for Police Conduct.
“Early indications are that the suspect shot himself. This has not yet, of course, been established as a fact. The man, I can tell you, remains in a critical condition in hospital.
“The investigations will establish the full facts of what has happened and I would ask you as far as is possible to show restraint in speculation at this time.
She continued: “This terrible incident underlines again how police officers face danger every single day, 24/7, 365, in their work to protect our public. Thank you all for your thoughts and I will issue more information when I can later today.”
The Met Commissioner added that the identity of the sergeant can not yet be revealed as police are still in the process of informing all of his close family.
In a statement, she said: “This morning we learnt of the shocking death of a much loved colleague, a long-serving sergeant in the Metropolitan Police who was working last night in our Croydon custody suite.
“I have visited and spoken to our officer’s partner together with other colleagues. We are giving her the best support we can.
“My heartfelt condolences go to her, their family, colleagues and wide circle of friends. I am thinking of everyone who has been involved and affected by this terrible event. We are all deeply shocked and saddened.”
Community police officer Jacqueline Kufuor burst into tears after laying flowers outside the centre in tribute to her colleague.
She said that the deceased officer was “a lovely guy” and “the nicest man I have ever met”.
“You never expect this to happen when you go to work. For him to have been in custody and for this to have happened, it is just so sad,” said Ms Kufuor.
“He was a very lovely man. He was such a nice man. When he sees you, he would just stand and talk to you. He would ask you about your job and how your are coping and how you are doing out there.
“So when I ever had issues, I would just talk to him.”
The incident has been referred to the Independent Office for Police Conduct watchdog which will lead an independent investigation.
The Metropolitan Police continues to investigate the officer’s murder.
Lissie Harper, the widow of Pc Andrew Harper who was killed on duty last year, said in a statement : “This is devastating news. No person should go to work never to return. No human being should be stripped of their life in a barbaric act of crime.
“Another hero has been taken from us in unwarranted violence.
“They protect us but who protects them? Another life is gone in a disgraceful act that reminds us of the danger our police officers face with every shift they begin.
“My heart is broken for yet another member of our blue line family, and all of his family, friends and colleagues who must now accept a life without him in it. My thoughts and love are resolutely with them.”