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Man in court over killing of N Ireland journalist Lyra McKee

LONDON (AP) — A 52-year-old man appeared in court Thursday in Northern Ireland in connection with the killing of Lyra McKee, a journalist shot dead during a riot involving Irish Republican Army dissidents last year.

Paul McIntyre has been charged with murder, although police say they believe several people were involved and they are still seeking “evidence to bring the gunman to justice.” McKee, 29, was observing anti-police rioting in Londonderry, also known as Derry, when she was killed in April 2019. The New IRA, a small paramilitary group that opposes Northern Ireland's peace process, said its members shot McKee by accident while firing at police.

McIntyre’s lawyer, Derwin Harvey, told a hearing at Londonderry Magistrates' Court on Thursday that his client was accused of picking up casings from the bullets that killed McKee. Supporters of McIntyre scuffled with police outside the courthouse before the hearing. He was denied bail and is to appear in court again on Feb. 27.

McKee's killing caused widespread shock in a region still scarred by decades of violence known as the Troubles, in which more than 3,500 people died. McKee was a increasingly influential journalist who had written powerfully about growing up gay in Northern Ireland and the struggles of the generation of "cease-fire babies" raised after the 1998 Good Friday peace accord that ended three decades of sectarian violence.

Hundreds of people attended McKee's funeral, including the prime ministers of Britain and Ireland and political leaders from Northern Ireland's Protestant and Catholic communities. Her death helped spur a successful effort to get feuding politicians to revive Northern Ireland's power-sharing government, which had collapsed in 2017.

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