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Sgt Matt Ratana’s ‘killer’ revived by medics after he ‘dies’ in hospital as cops search family home

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THE suspect in Sgt Matt Ratana’s shooting was tonight said to have died before being revived by medics.

The 23-year-old was hit by a bullet and remains in critical condition under police guard in hospital.

⚠️ Follow the latest updates on the Croydon shooting here

Sources say there was “zero chance” he was well enough today to speak to officers keen to find out how he had a gun in the police custody suite in Croydon, South London.

Cops also remain baffled at how he fired the fatal shot that hit Sgt Ratana with his hands cuffed behind his back.

Sources suggest the gun’s barrel may have been concealed in an intimate place inside his pants.

The suspect is said to be autistic and of Sri Lankan heritage.

Cops today swooped on four locations linked to him including a house in nearby Norbury.

The home belongs to Channa de Zoysa and wife Elizabeth, who live there with their five kids, including son Louis, 23.

One neighbour said the 23-year-old was “very awkward and kept himself to himself”.  

“The police have been outside the address since yesterday morning,” another neighbour told MailOnline.

“All we know is that it’s connected to the incident in Croydon.”

Forensics are checking the gun, while CCTV and bodycams are also being examined.

Traumatised cops who survived the shooting will be quizzed once mentally fit.

Investigators were also looking into possible motives of the suspect – but cops have insisted it is not a terror probe.

Police searches are taking place at four locations –  the custody suite, the site where he was arrested, and two addresses including the one pictured.

He was referred to the Prevent anti-terror scheme in 2018 over alleged Islamist and right-wing views. 

Deputy assistant commissioner Stuart Cundy said investigators have CCTV from the custody suite and bodyworn video from the officers.

Mr Cundy said: “I would reiterate this is a murder investigation  not a counter-terror one.”

He added: “We have recovered the gun from the custody suite where Matt was shot and that gun is being forensically examined.

“We also have CCTV from that custody suite which shows the events, and we have body-worn video of our police officers who were involved in the circumstances surrounding the arrest of the suspect.”

Police said forensic searches at all four locations will be “rigorous” and are expected to take days to be completed.

Mr Cundy said Friday was a “dark and sad day for the police family” and offered his thoughts to Sgt Ratana’s partner, family and colleagues.

He added: “Everyone working on this investigation, from the forensic specialists to the local officers holding the cordons, does so with a heavy heart but a determination to find justice for our colleague and his family.”

The suspect had been detained in an area of London Road, Pollards Hill for possession of ammunition and possession of class B drugs.

He was taken to the custody centre in Windmill Lane where he remained handcuffed until a door was opened for him to be searched with a metal detector.

“The sergeant opened the door to admit him and take his temperature to comply with Covid rules. But the suspect shot him at point-blank range, ” a source said.

They added: “It would appear the suspect has somehow managed to conceal the gun on his body.”

“However, there are rules preventing any intimate body searches on the street. It can only be done when a suspect is booked into a custody suite.”

The gunman blazed off more shots, five in all, in a fierce struggle in the corridor at 2.15am.

One hit himself in the neck, leaving him critical and under armed guard in hospital last night.

Desperate colleagues battled to save the stricken officer’s life.

Medics performed open heart surgery on Sgt Ratana at the custody centre.

He was airlifted to hospital but later pronounced dead.

The 54-year-old dad was just months from retirement – and it was revealed he had moved to work in custody as it was safer, as he neared retirement.

Sgt Ratana was a veteran officer originally from Palmerston North in New Zealand, he travelled to the UK to start a new life in 1989.

The officer had served with the Met Police since 1991 and worked in Croydon from 2015.

He had told colleagues he intended to quit as early as next year, and posted of  his excitement at the prospect of “a long healthy life”.

Pals said Sgt Ratana, dad to a grown-up son, 26, dreamed of travelling Europe on his motorbike then coaching at his rugby club in Sussex.

His partner of four years Sue Bushby was said to be devastated and was being comforted by friends.

Her sister Amanda Tessier, a community nurse, told The Sun: “He was a great big friendly bear of a man, one of the loveliest men you could meet.

“He was absolutely dedicated to being a police officer and had almost 30 years of service.

“He knew the dangers of being a police officer in London but for him it was all part of the job. “

The veteran officer’s cousin, Adrian Rurawhe, said: “He was really proud to be a police officer, he was also really proud to be Māori from New Zealand.”

Mr Rurawhe, a Labour MP in New Zealand, described Sgt Ratana, who worked at the Croydon Custody Centre, as “fearless”.

He added: “Matt really loved his job. He knew what he had signed up and the risks involved.

“He was never afraid but he was not reckless either.”

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick on Friday night said Sgt Ratana was known as a “big guy” with a “big heart”.

She said: “A lovely man, respected by his colleagues, officers, staff and of course by members of the public, including, I may say, suspects arrested or dealt with in custody.

“He was very well known locally and he will be remembered so fondly in Croydon and missed there, as well as in the Met and in the rugby world.”

New Zealand’s prime minister Jacinda Ardern wrote on Facebook that she was “incredibly sad” to hear the news of Matt’s death.

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