The ACC Mark Hamilton has appealed for information following the murder for journalist Lyra McKee last night in Londonderry by Dissident Republicans.
Speaking to the media & public outside Strand Road police station in the city, ACC Mark Hamilton said:
“Unfortunately at approximately 11 o’clock last night a gunman appeared and fired a number of shots towards the police and a young woman, Laya Mckee 29 year old, was wounded. She was taken away for the scene in a police land rover to Altnagelvin Hospital but unfortunately she has died. Therefore we have now launched a murder enquiry here in the city.
We believe this to be a terrorist act. We believe this has been carried out by violent dissident republicans. Our assessment at this time would be the New IRA are most likely to be the ones behind this and that forms our primary line of enquiry.
Can I say also I want to pass my deepest sympathies to the family of Ms McKee. This is a horrendous act, its unnecessary, its uncalled for, its totally unjustified. But not only is it a murder of a young woman, it’s an attack upon the people of this city.
I stood here in January and we talked about the bomb and the act of violence against this city and yet again we see another act of violence against this city and it has had horrendous consequences which will affect people for many many years.
I would appeal to people, particularly in this Easter weekend, to stay calm. I would appeal to people intent on violence to drawback. I would appeal to people would have influence to use your influence to make sure this is a peaceful weekend. Not only this weekend but going forward in this city.
These acts of violence are bring nothing to this city, all their doing is bring misery to one family but particularly to this city but also to our broader province.
If people have information, I would appeal to you also to bring it forward. You can ring Crime Stoppers, you can ring 101 ask for the police here at strand Road.
We need people who saw this happen come forward. We will also be putting out a portal for people to upload videos they may have taken. I know a lot of this is already circulating on social media, but again I would ask people to be sensitive to the family. Someone has lost their life and the last thing their family needs is to see that played over and over again.
If you have videos, I ask people to show sensitivity, not show them but share them with the police so we can use them in our murder enquiry to try and track down the people who have committed this horrendous crime.”
The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, the Rt Hon Karen Bradley MP, said:
“I am deeply shocked and saddened to hear of the death of a woman in Londonderry last night. My thoughts and condolences are with her family at this time. Those responsible for last night’s violence have nothing to offer anyone in Northern Ireland. Their intolerable actions are rejected by the overwhelming majority of people who want to build a peaceful and more prosperous future for everyone in Northern Ireland.”