Man charged with murder of Northern Irish journalist Lyra Mckee

"The quest for the evidence to bring the gunman to justice remains active and ongoing," said Detective Superintendent Jason Murphy.
Image: Journalist and author Lyra McKee posing for a photograph in Belfast
Journalist and author Lyra McKee was shot dead while observing a riot. Jess Lowe Photography / AFP - Getty Images file

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By Henry Austin

LONDON — A man has been charged with last year's murder of Northern Irish journalist Lyra McKee, police said Wednesday.

McKee, 29, was shot dead while observing a riot by dissident republicans in the city of Londonderry, which is also known as Derry. The April 18 killing sparked outrage across the United Kingdom.

The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) said in a statement that detectives from its major investigation team had now charged a 52-year-old man from the city with McKee's murder.

He was also charged "with possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life and professing to be a member of a proscribed organization," it added.

He will appear at Londonderry Magistrates' Court on Thursday.

However, Detective Superintendent Jason Murphy said: "I have always said a number of individuals were involved with the gunman on the night Lyra was killed, and while today is significant for the investigation the quest for the evidence to bring the gunman to justice remains active and ongoing."

McKee was standing next to a police vehicle when she was struck by a bullet fired by a masked gunman toward officers.

Shortly after her murder, a dissident Irish republican group called the New IRA reportedly claimed responsibility. In a statement sent to The Irish News, the group said it offered its "full and sincere apologies" to McKee's family and friends.

The newspaper said the statement was sent using a recognized code word, but its veracity has not been independently confirmed by NBC News.

The apology was widely rejected, with people across the province's polarized political spectrum coming together to condemn the killing.

Mckee's funeral at St. Anne's Cathedral in Belfast was attended by a number of high profile politicians including the U.K.'s former prime minister Theresa May and Irish President Michael D. Higgins.

Reuters contributed.