Lyra McKee's last Tweet described 'absolute madness' in Derry

Journalist Lyra McKee tweeted about the "absolute madness" in Derry in the hours before she was shot dead yesterday evening.

Ms McKee, 29, was shot in the head during a "terrorist incident" amid disturbances in the city and died later in hospital.

Last night she posted a picture on Twitter showing smoke rising into the sky as police vans drove towards the scene of the unrest in the Creggan estate.

Ms McKee described the scene as "absolute madness".

As a "rising star of investigative journalism", she was a freelance journalist based in Belfast and had written for publications including BuzzFeed, The Atlantic, and Private Eye.

She also worked as an editor for California-based news site Mediagazer, a trade publication covering the media industry.

Fellow journalist Naomi O'Leary, a correspondent at Politico, posted a screenshot of Ms McKee's last tweet, "sent from the scene of the unrest".

She said the "senseless loss is physically sickening and it's an extra punch to the gut that today is Good Friday".

Journalist Leona O’Neill was near Ms McKee last night and said she heard gunfire and saw a woman lying on the ground.

“I have been a journalist for 20-odd years and I know the distinguishable sound of the ‘pop-pop-pop’ of a gun and when I heard that I took cover behind a wall,” she told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

“But, directly in my line of sight, I saw there was a police Land Rover right in front of me and I saw a woman lying on the ground beside the police Land Rover just at one of the back wheels at the side of it.

Her friends had realised what had happened – obviously, they put two and two together, the pop of the gunfire and she was lying down on the ground – they started screaming that she had been shot.

“The gunfire was still going on, they tried to pull her over to safety to kind of where I was, where there was a bit of shelter.

Ms O'Neill said police officers got out of their Land Rover and put Ms McKee into the back of their vehicle.

"I had in the meantime also phoned an ambulance and I was telling the ambulance people where we were located and for them to get here quickly – and the police put her in the back of the Land Rover and drove her at speed with sirens going and the lights going through the burning barricade to the hospital," Ms O'Neill said.

Politicians, journalists and colleagues have been among those paying tribute to Ms McKee today.

A GoFundMe campaign has been set up this morning in her memory, with all the money raised going to her family for funeral expenses and to decide on her legacy.

You can donate here.

Additional reporting PA

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