The grieving partner of a policeman who was shot at a police station has paid tribute to her “gentle giant”.
Su Bushby said she was speechless following the death of 54-year-old Sgt Matiu Ratana after he was shot dead at a police station in Croydon, south London on Friday morning, September 25.
She described him as “infectiously smiling and with a big heart” – and said he was her “soul mate”.
Ms. Bushby, who served with the Metropolitan Police Sergeant for five years, said in a statement released by the police: “There are really no words for how I feel right now about the loss of Matt – the loss of someone who i loved and was so close to so tragic.
“I know Matt touched the lives of many, many people with his kindness, patience, kindness, enthusiasm, and care.
“I have had the pleasure of sharing five years of my life with this lovely man – my gentle giant with his infectious smile and big heart.
“I think of him with tenderness and love.
“Matt was my partner, friend, confidante, supporter, and soul mate.
“He is very much missed, but never forgotten. Matt will always be on my head and in my heart. “
The New Zealand-born Metropolitan Police officer, nearly 30, was close to retirement.
The head coach of the East Grinstead Rugby Club has been described as an “irreplaceable figure”.
A number of Croydon community leaders and charity bosses paid tribute to him in a video shared on social media Monday.
In the House of Commons, Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle invited the members of the Chamber to pay their respects to the fallen police officer.
He said: “I am sure all honorable members would like to join me in paying their respects to Police Sergeant Matt Ratana, who was killed on duty Friday, and to extend our condolences to his family.
“Yesterday was National Police Memorial Day, and I ask all honorary members to observe a minute’s silence to mark the occasion and to remember Matt Ratana.”
Mr Ratana’s alleged killer remains in critical condition in the hospital after he was also hit by a bullet after the murder.
He had been arrested for possession of Class B ammunition and drugs, with the intention of tending to them after a layover and a search, before being handcuffed and taken to the Croydon Custody Center on Friday.
No police rifles were fired in the incident and the case is not treated as terrorist.
So far, during the investigation, police have searched one address on Southbrook Road in Norbury, southwest London, and another on Park Road in Banstead, Surrey.
A man was also arrested in Norwich, Norfolk, on suspicion of delivery of a firearm.
Since his death, the New Zealand-born sergeant has received a number of honors, including one from the country’s Prime Minister, Jacinda Adern.
City Police Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick said he was an “exceptional person” who was “very good at what he did”.
She said his “terrible” death could bring people closer to the challenges of policing.
She said it could help people “see us police for who we are – people who go to work to help people, support people, and protect people”.
She added, “Matt was the epitome of it.”