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19th Apr 2019

Journalist Lyra McKee shot dead in Derry ‘terrorist incident’

Police say the New IRA are likely to be responsible for the killing of Lyra McKree

Oli Dugmore

Lyra McKee

29-year-old Lyra McKee was shot dead last night following an outbreak of violence in Derry.

Police believe that the journalist was murdered by a single gunman, thought to be a dissident republican.

Members of the PSNI started searches in the Creggan area of Derry last night aimed at disrupting dissident republican activity ahead of Easter weekend.

The searches provoked rioting and more than 50 petrol bombs were thrown at the police. Two of their cars were hijacked and set alight.

Assistant Chief Constable Mark Hamilton said:

“This murder demonstrates all too starkly that when terrorists bring violence and guns into the community, members of the public are placed in severe danger. It is abundantly clear that they do not care who they harm.

“This is a horrendous act, it is unnecessary, it is uncalled for, it’s totally unjustified.

“But not only is it a murder of a young woman, it is an attack again on the people of this city.”

Another journalist, Leona O’Neill, was at the scene when she describes a gunman firing “indiscriminately” towards police.

She said a gunman “came round the corner and fired shots indiscriminately towards police vehicles.” Adding, “there were a number of houses with families – they had all spilled out on the street to see what was happening.

“There were young people, there were children on the street, there were teenagers milling about and a gunman just fired indiscriminately up the street.”

Sinn Fein’s deputy leader Michelle O’Neill condemned the “senseless loss of life,” describing it as “an attack on all the people of this community, an attack on our peace process and an attack on the Good Friday Agreement.”

She said: “I unreservedly condemn those responsible for killing this young woman.

“We will remain resolute in our opposition to the pointless actions of these people who care nothing for the people of Derry.

“We remain united in our determination to building a better and peaceful future for all.”