Lyra McKee: Journalist's death should mean end of guns in Derry, friend says in tribute to reporter

Colin Drury
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Lyra McKee: Journalist's death should mean end of guns in Derry, friend says in tribute to reporter

Lyra McKee: Journalist's death should mean end of guns in Derry, friend says in tribute to reporter

Lyra McKee's death should help end the use of guns in Derry, one of her closest friends has said.

Speaking on Saturday, Ms McKee’s friend Kathleen Bradley said the journalist’s legacy would be to drive home the message that weapons are no longer wanted in Northern Ireland.

“Lyra's legacy I think will be opening all our eyes to what we should have got as a result of the Good Friday Agreement - the ceasefire babies' generation,” she said.

Police have arrested two teenagers who they believe were involved in fatally shooting the 29-year-old during a disturbance in the city’s Creggan estate on Thursday night.

The pair, aged 18 and 19, are both being questioned under the Terrorism Act.

Ms Bradley added: "Lyra's legacy will be in this town that guns don't solve anything, guns should never be used for anything and her legacy will be that we will keep her name and spirit going amongst us.

"A very clear message has been given from not only the people of this town but wider afield to say that this is not okay, this is not acceptable, this is not justifiable. It has to stop, nothing is worth a life. Nothing.”

Speaking as she stood beside floral tributes at the spot where the Belfast-based freelancer fell, Ms Bradley added: “She was just one of the most genuine, sincere, funny and intelligent people that I have come to know throughout my life."

Her comments came as people across Derry condemned the violence, led by mayor John Boyle who told reporters the killing was “not done in the name of the people of this city”.

Graffiti sprayed on a wall on the Creggan estate, meanwhile, declared the shooting was "not in our name".

And Detective Superintendent Jason Murphy, the PSNI officer leading the investigation, added: “There is a real sense, after what happened to Lyra, of a sea change and I want people to have confidence to come forward and help us…

“Lyra’s murder was not just an attack on Lyra, it was an attack on the fabric of this community. Lyra’s killers have succeeded in only one thing, and that is in uniting the entire community in condemnation.”

But he added there remained a fear that "a new breed of terrorist" was coming of age in Northern Ireland.

In video footage from the scene, filmed on a mobile phone, the suspected gunman can be seen firing twice into the crowd.

The clip, widely shared on social media, shows the shooter leaning around a barrier surrounding the Creggan Day Centre to aim towards police.

He fires two shots, three seconds apart, with what appears to be a handgun, before screaming is heard.

Additional reporting by PA