Two men have been arrested and charged in connection to the killing of out lesbian journalist Lyra McKee, who was shot to death while covering a riot in Northern Ireland two years ago.
The Police Service of Northern Ireland apprehended the men, ranging from the ages of 19 to 33, on September 15 under the country’s Terrorist Act, authorities said, though the 19-year-old was released. The busts follow last year’s arrest of 53-year-old Paul McIntyre, who was charged with murdering McKee. Peter Géaroid Cavanagh, 33, and Jordan Devine, 21, were charged with murder as well as other charges, including possessing a weapon and ammunition with the intention of endangering life, rioting, possessing and throwing gasoline bombs, and arson, according to the BBC.
Another individual, 20-year-old Joe Campbell, was charged with rioting and possessing and throwing petrol bombs, according to the BBC. Cavanagh, Devine, and Campbell were released on bail and are slated to appear in court again on October 7.
Police in the Creggan area — on outskirts of Derry, or Londonberry — were searching for guns and explosives in April of 2019 after they suspected that the new IRA, a militant group, had planned terrorist attacks. The police were met with rioters who threw petrol bombs and set bombs on fire — and a masked gunman who was shooting at police wound up shooting McKee.
“These arrests are the culmination of a detailed two-year investigation into Lyra’s murder and the events which preceded it,” Police Service of Northern Ireland Detective Superintendant Jason Murphy said in a written statement. “The local community have supported the Police Service of Northern Ireland throughout the course of this protracted investigation, and I wish to thank them for their continued support.”
The New IRA opposes the 1998 Good Friday Agreement aimed at ending most violence in Northern Ireland. Before the deadly riots, police began searching for guns and explosives due to suspicion that members of the New IRA were planning violent acts of terrorism. McKee was shot as a masked gunman entered the crowd and opened fire, according to the BBC.
In 2014, McKee made headlines after she penned the blog post “Letter to my 14-year-old self” in which she recalled her life as a queer person in Belfast and her journalism career. She wrote for multiple high-profile publications, including BuzzFeed News and The Belfast Telegraph. McKee was also regarded for her investigative health work on suicide in the aftermath of The Troubles, a conflict sparked by the differences between the Irish State and the UK-controlled region of Northern Ireland that lasted 30 years.
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