Police in Northern Ireland said Friday, 19 April, the dissident republican group – the New IRA – was probably responsible for the fatal shooting of a journalist during overnight rioting in the city of Londonderry.
The Police Service of Northern Ireland said 29-year-old journalist and author Lyra McKee died after she was shot during rioting in the Creggan area.
Assistant Chief Constable Mark Hamilton said a gunman fired a number of shots at police during the unrest on Thursday evening.
"We believe this to be a terrorist act. We believe it has been carried out by violent dissident republicans," he said.
"“Our assessment at this time is that the New IRA are most likely to be the ones behind this and that forms our primary line of inquiry.”"
A murder investigation been launched but there have been no arrests. Hamilton appealed for calm to prevail on Easter weekend.
An eyewitness told the BBC that a gunman fired indiscriminately into a crowd during riots on the crowded Creggan housing complex.
The New IRA is a small group of republicans who reject the 1998 Good Friday agreement that marked the Irish Republican Army's embrace of a political solution to the long-running violence known as "The Troubles" that claimed more than 3,700 lives.
The group is also blamed for a Londonderry car bombing that did not cause any injuries in January. It is regarded as the largest of the splinter dissident groups still operating and has been linked to several other killings in the past decade.
There has been an increase in tensions in Northern Ireland in recent months with sporadic violence, much of it focused in Londonderry, also known as Derry.
McKee, the victim of the shooting, rose to prominence in 2014 with a blog post describing the struggle of growing up gay in Belfast, the capital of Northern Ireland. She had recently signed a contract to write two books.
Seamus Dooley, Irish secretary of the National Union of Journalists, he was shocked by the murder of a journalist "of courage, style and integrity."
He offered sympathy to "her partner, her family and many friends."
Several others too took to Twitter to share their grief over Mckee’s death.
I just received the heartbreaking news that my friend @LyraMcKee was murdered tonight in a terrorist incident in Derry.— Matthew Hughes (@matthewhughes) April 19, 2019
She was one of my closest friends. She was my mentor. She was a groomswoman at my wedding. I can't imagine life without her, and yet now I must. I'm devastated
We are shocked and anguished by reports that our brave and wonderful colleague Lyra McKee has been murdered amid violence in Derry, NI. She has edited Mediagazer since 2011. Our hearts go out to her family and friends.— Gabe Rivera (@gaberivera) April 19, 2019
Lyra McKee was a journalist I knew & admired for many years. She was a gifted writer, a kind person and SO generous with her time and knowledge. I was thrilled to be nominated for @TheGalas in the same category as her. So young - horrific & heartbreaking news from Derry tonight.— Peter McGuire (@PeterMcGuireIE) April 19, 2019
Stunned by the news about @LyraMcKee. I only knew her from online and a phone conversations after we were introduced by @GlasgaeLauraLee; she struck me as a thoughtful journalist unafraid to challenge her own beliefs. Rare and precious. Deepest condolences to family and friends.— Dr Brooke Magnanti (@belledejour_uk) April 19, 2019
One of the many brilliant pieces by @LyraMcKee, the 29-year-old journalist killed in Derry last night, on suicide and inter generational trauma among 'Ceasefire Babies' in Northern Ireland. https://t.co/c6kUNwrtdf— Poppy McPherson (@poppymcp) April 19, 2019
(This article has been published in arrangement with Associated Press.)
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