Northern Ireland police arrest 2 teens in journalist death

Lyra McKee. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

April 20 (UPI) — Northern Ireland police announced Saturday that it arrested two teenagers in connection with Thursday night’s shooting death of investigative journalist Lyra McKee in Derry.

The Police Service of Northern Ireland said officers took the adolescents, ages 18 and 19 into custody under its anti-terrorism laws. The suspects were questioned about the shooting in Belfast, The Guardian reported.

Authorities had released security camera video after the incident showing a masked person firing a gun in the direction of police vehicles in the midst of rioting in Derry’s Creggan area Thursday. McKee was shot while standing next to two civilians near the vehicles.

Mobile phone footage showed a man who appeared to be shooting from behind a cover and a second man who appeared to be picking up possible shell casings.

McKee, 29, was a celebrated journalist, featured in Forbes magazine’s 2016 30 Under 30 in the media list and had written for The Atlantic and BuzzFeed. She had been signed to write two books and was living with her partner Sara Canning at the time of her death.

“The Belfast-based investigative journalist has crowd-funded money to finance research for her first book about the murder of a Northern Irish politician that dates back more than 30 years,” her Forbes citation said. “She also writes for a number of publications such as Mosaic Science and has won a Sky News Young Journalist Award.”

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“At this stage, we believe her murder was carried out by a violent dissident republican,” assistant chief constable Mark Hamilton said in a statement before the arrests.

“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,” he continued.

McKee was an LGBTQ activist and in a vigil Friday, Canning called on others to fill the void she left.

“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,” Canning said, CNN reported.

The incident came before Easter weekend, where republicans mark the anniversary of the 1916 Easter Rising where they fought against British rule.

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