Gun of same type used to kill Lyra McKee seized in Londonderry
A handgun of the same type that was used to kill journalist Lyra McKee has been found by police in Londonderry.
It was discovered during a two-day search operation across a 38-acre area of land in Ballymagroarty.
Derry City and Strabane District Commander Chief Superintendent Emma Bond said police cannot confirm at this stage if it is the weapon used to kill Ms McKee.
The 29-year-old was shot while observing rioting in the Creggan area of Derry in April 2019.
Her killing sparked widespread condemnation across the world.
“The weapon found appears to be of the same type and calibre as the gun we believe was used to murder Lyra McKee, however at this time we are not in a position to say whether this is the murder weapon,” Chief Superintendent Bond said.
“The gun will be subject to extensive forensic testing in the coming days and weeks to determine if there is a link between this firearm and Lyra’s murder.
“Whilst we regard this as an encouraging line of inquiry, I will repeat that we cannot definitively say at this time whether or not this is the murder weapon. That determination will be guided by the forensics.”
The search operation was designed to find weapons being stored by violent dissident republicans.
The haul by police also included a command wire-initiated bomb and a quantity of ammunition.
“A strong line of inquiry is that these munitions belong to the Real IRA. They have now been seized and will be subject to rigorous forensic examination in the coming days and weeks,” Chief Superintendent Bond said.
“The fact that these items were left close to a populated area, and particularly on land where children are known to play, yet again underlines the total lack of regard these violent terrorist criminals have for their own communities.
“These people are so singularly focused on murdering police officers that they do not care if others – men, women, children, families – are caught up in their evil plots. The community is simply collateral damage.
“Support and information from the local community is vital to fighting the scourge of terrorism. Anything you know, or anything you have seen – share that information with us and help us put these criminals out of business.
“You can call us on 101, 999 in an emergency or information can be given to Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.”