LONDON — A journalist was fatally shot while reporting on a riot in the Northern Irish city of Londonderry on Thursday, authorities said.
Lyra McKee, 29, was described by one colleague as a "rising star."
Dozens of Molotov cocktails were thrown at officers during unrest in the Creggan area of the city, according to the Police Service of Northern Ireland.
Around 100 people, including youths and members of the media, were at the scene when shots were fired before midnight local time.
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An eyewitness told the BBC that a gunman fired indiscriminately into a crowd.
Leona O'Neill, a local journalist who was present, wrote on Twitter that she was with McKee when she was hit. She said McKee fell beside a police vehicle Land Rover and officers rushed her to hospital, where she died.
I was standing beside this young woman when she fell beside a police Land Rover tonight in Creggan #Derry. I called an ambulance for her but police put her in the back of their vehicle and rushed her to hospital where she died. Just 29 years old. Sick to my stomach tonight pic.twitter.com/F0GHHd3HPz
McKee had written for publications around the world including The Atlantic and she also edited for California-based news site Mediagazer. Her first book "The Lost Boys" was to be released next year, according to literary agency Janklow & Nesbit UK.
Mark Hamilton, the police force's assistant chief constable, said a murder investigation had been launched.
"We believe this to be a terrorist act. We believe it has been carried out by violent dissident republicans," he added. "Our assessment at this time is that the New IRA are most likely to be the ones behind this."
The New IRA is a small group of republicans who reject the 1998 Good Friday agreement that marked the Irish Republican Army's embrace of a political solution to the long-running violence known as "The Troubles" that claimed more than 3,700 lives.