Northern Ireland: Woman Arrested in Slaying of Journalist McKee

April 24, 2019 Updated: April 24, 2019

LONDON—The Northern Ireland Police Service said on April 23 they had arrested a woman under the Terrorism Act in connection with the slaying of journalist Lyra McKee.

The arrest of the 57-year-old under the Terrorism Act came as an Irish Republican Army splinter group admitted that one of its “volunteers” killed journalist McKee, who was shot dead while reporting on rioting in Londonderry.

The group said the 29-year-old journalist was killed during Thursday night’s unrest “while standing beside enemy forces”—a reference to the police.

Police forensic officers at the scene in Londonderry, Northern Ireland, on April 19, 2019, following the death of 29-year-old journalist Lyra McKee who was shot and killed during overnight rioting. (Brian Lawless/PA via AP)

The IRA and most other extremist groups have disarmed since Northern Ireland’s 1998 peace accord. The New IRA has been formed from splinter groups opposed to the peace process.

Authorities believe one person pulled the trigger during the chaotic rioting that began Thursday night but had organizational support.

The use of a firearm apparently aimed at police marks a dangerous escalation in sporadic violence that continues to plague Northern Ireland 21 years after the Good Friday peace agreement was signed. The New IRA group rejects the peace agreement.

Police forensic officers at the scene in Londonderry, Northern Ireland, on April 19, 2019, following the death of 29-year-old journalist Lyra McKee who was shot and killed during overnight rioting. (Brian Lawless/PA via AP)

The riot followed a pattern familiar to those who lived through the worst years of violence in Northern Ireland. Police arrived in the city’s Creggan neighborhood to search for weapons and dissidents. They were barraged with gasoline bombs and other flying objects before someone wearing a black mask appeared, fired some shots and fled.

No police were struck by the bullets, but McKee—who had been trying to film the riot on her phone—was hit. The journalist was rushed to a nearby hospital in a police car but died.

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