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UK police shot dead by detained suspect at London custody center

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Policemen gather outside the custody center where a British police officer has been shot dead in Croydon, south London, September 25, 2020. (Photo by Reuters)

A British police officer has been shot dead by an unidentified man who was being detained at a custody centre in London. 

The man, who was being detained at the Croydon Custody Centre in south London, opened fire on the officer in the early hours of Friday morning.

The officer, whose name was not made public, was treated at the scene and taken to hospital where he died.

“This is a truly shocking incident in which one of our colleagues has lost his life in the most tragic circumstances,” London police chief Cressida Dick said.

The gunman, then shot himself, according to a Scotland Yard statement. “A 23-year-old man was detained by officers at the scene. He was also taken to hospital with a gunshot wound and remains in a critical condition,” it said.

Forensic specialists are seen at the custody center in Croydon, south London, September 25, 2020. (Photo by Reuters)

It was not immediately known why the man was arrested. According to the Telegraph, the suspect is a Sri Lankan national.

British Prime Minster Boris Johnson expressed his “deepest condolences,” in a tweet to “family, friends and colleagues of the police officer who was killed in Croydon last night.”

"We owe a huge debt to those who risk their own lives to keep us safe,” Johnson said.

Figures indicated earlier this year that UK police are fining black and Asian people disproportionately under coronavirus laws in London.

Metropolitan Police statistics indicated that more than a quarter of fines for lockdown violations have been handed to black people, who only make up 12 percent of the population of London.

A further 23 percent were given to Asian people, who comprise 18 percent of London residents.

The figures were from the time the lockdown measures came into force, late March to mid-May, before the most recent easing of lockdown rules.

British police have also been accused of targeting black people during the lockdown period.

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