PSNI Deputy Chief Constable Stephen Martin has told a press conference in Derry that those responsible for the shooting of 29-year-old journalist Lyra McKee have achieved nothing "other than to plunge a family into grief”.
Speaking at a press conference the Deputy Chief Constable said police also believed more than one person was involved in the shooting.
Speaking at a press conference at the Guildhall in Derry, he said: “We certainly believe there was more than one person who was involved in this last night. Obviously, only one person pulled the trigger but there was more than one person.
He said it was “too early” in the investigation to confirm the ages of the suspects.
The Mayor of Derry, councillor John Boyle, also told the press conference that this was “an extremely sad day for the citizens of this city”.
He said: “The citizens of Derry, or Londonderry, it doesn’t matter what you call this city, everyone is united with one voice today to speak out in the first instance, and to offer our condolences, especially to Lyra McKee’s family in Belfast, for the tragedy that occurred here in our city last night.
“You will see behind me many of our civic and political leaders. They have come here to join together with one voice to say that these events did not happen in the name of the people of this city.”
Mr Boyle added: “This dreadful murder was heinous in the extreme and threatened the lives of many more.
“I just want to reflect on the fact that I personally knew Lyra McKee, I have known her since she was 16 years old. She was bright, she was warm, she was witty, but most of all she was an outstanding individual, a great friend to so, so many people in this city in the short time that she was with us.
“We are broken-hearted for her family at their loss and, again, I want to just extend our very deepest sympathies to them.
“There’s an awful lot of anger in this city today.
“Not only that, but the people of Creggan absolutely abhor what happened last night. Lyra was one of us.”
Deputy Chief Constable Martin also said the attack had left many in the city “heartbroken” before he addressed the suspects directly.
He said: “I care about this city deeply and I know that the callous and cruel murder that occurred on its streets last night will be condemned, and the majority of people in this city today will be heartbroken and repulsed. The actions will not have been carried out in their name.
“And it’s because I know of the heart of this city, having spent much time here, I wanted to come along today to stand with the leaders and to say to the people who carried this out: ‘this was not done to further any cause’.
“This will have achieved nothing other than to plunge a family into grief and to condemn the city we all love to the worst possible headlines, global headlines today, on Good Friday, 21 years to the day after our peace agreement was signed.”
The PSNI's Deputy Chief Constable, Stephen Martin, has condemned an attack in Londonderry which led to a journalist being shot dead. pic.twitter.com/6hrmwSICUK— BBC News NI (@BBCNewsNI) April 19, 2019
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar paid tribute to Ms McKee as he gave a statement outside Government Buildings in Dublin.
“An activist and journalist, she changed lives as she lived and will do so again in death,” he said.
“Twenty-one years ago today on Good Friday, we as a people, north and south, chose peace, democracy, powersharing and ever closer co-operation, and we will not be dragged into the past. There is no place or any justification for political violence in Ireland or Northern Ireland today.
“This was an act of fear, this was an act of hate and this was an act of cowardice. Those who carried it out do not share the views of our nation nor of our republic and we reject them.”
Mr Varadkar added: “So, this was an attack not just on one citizen, it was an attack on all of us, our nation and our freedoms.
“I want to express my solidarity with the people of Derry today, we stand with you as strong as your walls and for as long as they stand.”
The Taoiseach praised the “bravery” of the PSNI and emergency services in Derry.
He added: “I echo the call that anyone who has information should now come forward so that justice be done.”
- Press Association