Two teenagers arrested over murder of journalist Lyra McKee in Northern Ireland

Two teenagers have been arrested in connection with the murder of journalist Lyra McKee in Northern Ireland.

By The Newsroom
Saturday, 20th April 2019, 9:22 am
Updated Monday, 22nd April 2019, 10:51 am

The men, aged 18 and 19, were detained under anti-terrorism legislation and have been taken to a police station in Belfast for questioning, the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) said.

Ms McKee, a talented journalist named by Forbes Magazine in 2016 as one of its 30 under 30 in media, was shot in the head during unrest on the Creggan estate in Londonderry on Thursday night.

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People signing a book of condolence after a vigil at Belfast City Hall in memory of murdered journalist Lyra McKee (pic: Liam McBurney/PA Wire)

Police believe dissident republicans linked to the New IRA were responsible for her killing.

Detectives hunting the gunman have released footage of the shooting, which shows the 29-year-old journalist’s final moments.

In it, she can be seen standing among a crowd of other innocent bystanders and raising her phone, apparently to film the violence.

Shaky mobile phone footage also released by detectives showed a masked gunman lean from behind cover and appear to fire shots towards police and onlookers.

Ms McKee's partner, Sara Canning, has led tributes, saying her ‘amazing potential was snuffed out by this single barbaric act’.

"Victims and the LGBTQIA community are left without a tireless advocate and activist and it has left me without the love of my life, the woman I was planning to grow old with,” she added.

"This cannot stand, Lyra's death must not be in vain because her life was a shining light in everyone else's life and her legacy will live on and the life that she has left behind."

Police, who described the shooting as a ‘terrorist incident’, believe the violence was orchestrated in response to an earlier search by officers aimed at averting imminent trouble associated with this week's anniversary of the Easter Rising.

Around 50 petrol bombs were thrown in the confrontation and two cars were burned out.

Officers believe more than one person was involved in the murder.

In the video footage an accomplice beside the gunman appears to crouch and pick something up from the spot where the shots were fired.

Detective Superintendent Jason Murphy, who is leading the inquiry, described the murder as ‘senseless and appalling beyond belief’.

"People saw the gunman and people saw those who goaded young people out onto the streets, people know who they are," he said.

"The answers to what happened last night lie within the community.

"I am asking people to do the right thing for Lyra McKee, for her family and for the city of Derry/Londonderry and help us stop this madness."

He said police have already received ‘a large number of calls and information'.

Deputy Chief Constable Stephen Martin addressed the suspects directly at a press conference, saying: "This was not done to further any cause, this will have achieved nothing other than to plunge a family into grief."

A vigil was held in Creggan in Ms McKee's memory, organised by local residents who said they felt sad and angry.

She had recently moved to Derry to live with ‘love of her life’, Ms Canning, and was also an editor for California-based news site Mediagazer, a trade publication covering the media industry.