Firearms officers involved in the stand-off with fugitive gunman Raoul Moat will come to realise they did "everything right", a national expert said today.
Andy Redman, a former national police tactical firearms adviser, said the team would be "reflective" after the dramatic events of the early hours and would be thoroughly debriefed, perhaps several times.
Mr Redman was observing events in Rothbury throughout the six hours of negotiations between police and Moat.
He said: "They will be reflective now.
"They will question themselves 'did we do it right?'
"I am sure they will be told, and they will realise, that they did."
Mr Redman's support for the team came after Northumbria Police confirmed the matter had been referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC).
He added: "The sad thing is Mr Moat chose to take his life.
"Ideally he would have surrendered to face justice, but that was his choice."
It was understood Moat suffered catastrophic head injuries after blasting himself under the chin from very close range with the sawn-off shotgun.
Mr Redman, who had 20 years experience in the police, said audio of the shooting showed officers acted professionally throughout.
They heard a shotgun blast, and will not have known immediately if Moat fired at them or himself.
"There's a bang, it's dark and raining. They responded 'Armed police, drop your weapon'."
The officers approached Moat to make sure he was disarmed then called in paramedics, Mr Redman said.
A large cordon remained in place to keep the public well away from the scene.
As rain has fallen heavily through the night and into the morning, there was a need to preserve evidence.
Former Detective Chief Superintendent Chris Gregg, now working for a forensic science company, said the pace of the inquiry would now slow down from the frenetic pace of the crisis management last night.
"It is moving into another phase now.
"The investigation will pull all this together now for the inquest (into Moat's death) and the court case eventually for those charged."
Mr Gregg, who led some of West Yorkshire Police's biggest investigations in recent years, said the IPCC referral was a matter of routine when somebody died following involvement with police.
He said: "It has been an immensely difficult case for the force.
"Cases like this are few and far between with a killer on the loose threatening to kill people.
"They don't come more serious.
"I think the police have done a commendable job in resolving this without further loss of life."
Bob Morrison, director of Sec-Tech security firm, whose military background included specialist tracking and survival training, believed Moat evaded capture with help from associates.
He said: "With that number of people looking for him, even a special forces soldier would have been hard pushed to evade capture.
"I think he has been helped, with people bringing him a change of clothes or food.
"In the circles he moved in, there is a lot of 'honour'.
"They could assist him but they could not exfiltrate him from Rothbury.
"At the end, when he was lying face down with 10 snipers around him, his friends are not there and he must have been very lonely."
There were potential sightings of Moat walking through the middle of the town 24 hours before he was cornered, leading to the belief he knew the game was up on Thursday, but preferred to be captured than hand himself in.
A military source said: "If the sightings are true, it will have been a bit of bravado. He will have been thinking 'I'm going to take more chances'."
Meanwhile, life in the pretty Northumberland town slowly got back to normal.
Shoppers - some bleary eyed from staying up to follow last night's drama - bustled about the town centre, which was busy.
They looked relaxed as the tension of having a killer on the loose eased.Reuse content