Croydon police shooting suspect named as 'gun seller' arrested in Norfolk after dawn raids

Croydon police shooting suspect named as 'gun seller' arrested in Norfolk after dawn raids

September 27, 2020

THE Croydon police station shooting suspect has been named as Louis De Zoysa.

De Zoysa, 23, was the man held in a police station custody suite when one of five shots fired from a smuggled revolver cut down much-loved cop Sgt Matt Ratana.

⚠️ Follow the latest updates on the Croydon shooting here

The alleged gunman remains critically ill in hospital after the last bullet tore into his own neck in a struggle with the shot cop’s colleagues at Croydon Police Station, South London.

Police were still probing how the suspect allegedly concealed a revolver in his pants after his stop-and-search arrest for possession of Class B drugs and ammunition.

And it remained unclear how the suspect managed to draw the hidden weapon and allegedly shot dead 54-year-old Sgt Ratana when his hands had been cuffed behind his back.

Details emerged yesterday of De Zoysa’s outwardly respectable but unstable upbringing in a large end-terraced house in Norbury, South London last night.

His yoga teacher father Channa, 55, has posted snaps of his supple frame online while his mother Elizabeth is a local Green Party activist and former election candidate.

Louis lives with the couple at their £717,000 house leafy Southbrook Road, Norbury with his Oxford University student brother John and sister Channika.

But neighbours told last night how the De Zoysa’s 28-year-marriage had come under strain – and that police had been seen at the house prior to the shooting.

Sri Lankan-born Channa appeared before magistrates in March 2015, where he was made the subject of a restraining order against his British wife, who worked as an interpreter.

But the order was withdrawn at Camberwell magistrates’ court in March last year, after the pair reconciled.

Neighbours described Louis as “very awkward”.

One said: “I don’t think he had many friends. He was probably a bit of a loner."

The suspect’s father Channa posted Facebook pictures in a bid to boost his yoga business and more snaps of his cycling hobby.

Brother Johnty attended the prestigious John Fisher’s school in Purley and studied Engineering at the University of Oxford.

Another neighbour said: “They were noisy neighbours. They had two dogs who were very rowdy – they used to come out and chase people around.

“Louis was very awkward. He was always to himself.”

Another local added: “The police have been going round there every couple of months.

“The last time was probably two months ago. I’m not sure what it was over.”

Others said the family “don’t really speak to anyone” in the street following a string of rows about their unruly dogs.

Police sealed off Southbrook Road as forensic teams continued work at the family’s home, where the couple have lived for 25 years.

Specialist homicide investigators from the Met’s Specialist Crime Command are continuing to investigate the shooting.

Sgt Ratana was the first ever officer to be killed inside a British police station – and his killer’s motive remains a mystery.

But counter-terrorist cops were not involved in inquiries, despite the suspect being flagged to Home Office’s Prevent deradicalisation programme two years ago.

Bosses took no action over claims that he held both extreme Islamist and right wing views after he was assessed to pose no threat.

De Zoysa is said to be autistic and of Sri Lankan heritage.

He was detained in Norwich, Norfolk, at about 2am this morning and brought to a station in south London to be quizzed.

Yesterday morning armed cops raided a farmhouse in Surrey in connection with the shooting.

Officers are thought to have used explosives to blow off the door of a property at Courtlands Farm near Banstead Wood.

A neighbour revealed they heard an explosion just before 6am and saw about 20 police cars.

Cops swooped on four locations linked to the suspect on Saturday, including a house in nearby Norbury.

"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.

It comes after The Sun revealed De Soyza was believed to have been revived by medics after he died in hospital.

Cops also remain baffled at the suspect 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.

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

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

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.


De Soyza 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.

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. "

Officers killed in the line of duty since 2000:

Detective Constable Stephen Oake died during a police raid on a flat in Crumpsall, Manchester, in January 2003.

PC Ian Broadhurst, 34, of West Yorkshire Police, was murdered by David Bieber, 38, in Leeds on Boxing Day 2003.

Detective Constable Michael Swindells, 44, died after he was knifed in the stomach as he and colleagues conducted a search in Birmingham in May 2004.

PC Sharon Beshenivsky was shot dead when she and a colleague tried to stop armed robbers in Bradford in November 2005.

PC Ricky Gray was shot in the head by a gunman who then turned the weapon on himself in Shrewsbury in 2007.

PC Gary Toms, 37, was critically injured confronting suspects in Leyton, east London, on April 11 2009. He died six days later when his life support machine was switched off, 25 years to the day after PC Yvonne Fletcher was shot dead outside the Libyan embassy in London while controlling a crowd of demonstrators.

PC Fiona Bone, 32, and PC Nicola Hughes, 23, were murdered by Dale Cregan in Greater Manchester in September 2012.

PC Keith Palmer, who was fatally stabbed in March 2017 by Khalid Masood during the Westminster Bridge terror attack.

PC Andrew Harper died when he was caught in a tow rope and dragged along country lanes after trying to stop quad bike thieves in Berkshire in August 2019.

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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