The killing of a Metropolitan Police officer in the line of duty is a “sad day for our country”, the Home Secretary has said.
Priti Patel was among those to speak of their shock after an officer was shot inside a police station by a man who then turned the gun on himself in the early hours of Friday.
The victim died in hospital after the gunman, who was being detained, opened fire at Croydon custody centre in south London.
Speaking at the Home Office, Home Secretary Priti Patel said: “I’m deeply shocked and saddened by the tragic killing of the officer in Croydon overnight.
“All our thoughts are with the officer’s family, friends and colleagues across the Metropolitan Police force, but also policing family across the country.
“This is a sad day for our country as once again we see the tragic killing of a police officer in the line of duty as they’re trying to protect us and keep us safe.
“Later on today I’ll be meeting with the Metropolitan Police Commissioner to discuss the investigation that is currently taking place, and of course the Metropolitan Police Service now need the time and the space to get on with the inquiry that now needs to follow.”
Community police officer Jacqueline Kufuor burst into tears after laying flowers outside the centre in tribute to her colleague.
She told the PA news agency that the deceased officer was “a lovely guy” and “the nicest man I have ever met”.
She said: “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.”
She said: “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.”
Lissie Harper, the widow of Pc Andrew Harper, who was killed on duty last year, said the death of a Metropolitan Police officer was “utterly devastating”.
She shared a Facebook post with the news, adding: “What is happening to our world.”
Reverend Catherine Tucker, who went down to the centre to see if anyone needed prayer or support, said: “The action taken against the police is really unacceptable but I also feel sorry for the perpetrator.
“Sadly, I am not surprised there has been a shooting in Croydon.”
Rev Tucker, who is of the Holy Church Croydon parish, which includes the centre in its catchment area, described the region as having a diverse community who live in a highly-deprived setting.
She said: “There are tensions between the police and young people particularly in relation to stop and search and the way the police relate to the community.”
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