The Police Service of Northern Ireland said Friday morning that 29-year-old investigative journalist Lyra McKee died after she was shot during rioting in the Creggan area.
He said police were treating the incident as a terrorist attack and had opened a murder inquiry.
An off-duty journalist was killed after shots were fired during rioting in the Northern Irish city of Londonderry overnight, an attack that shocked the province and police said was likely the work of nationalist militants.
A burning auto in Creggan, Londonderry after petrol bombs were thrown at police.
"We believe this to be a terrorist act". "The searches were being carried out because we believed that violent dissident republicans were storing firearms and explosives for a number of planned attacks and these may have been used over the Easter weekend in the city".
On Twitter, her friends described her as an "exceptional journalist", their "mentor" and a "huge talent". Just a year ago, an article described her as a "rising star" of investigative journalism.
Images of the unrest posted on social media showed a auto and van ablaze and hooded individuals throwing petrol bombs and fireworks at police vehicles.
McKee was standing close to a police vehicle when she wounded by a single gunman firing shots into a residential area. "Sick to my stomach tonight", the reporter said.
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Patrick Corrigan, Northern Ireland programme director of Amnesty International, said: "All at Amnesty are utterly devastated at the news that Lyra McKee has been shot dead while carrying out her job as a journalist". Just 29 years old. Photo: PA Armed police at the scene of unrest in Creggan, Derry.
Thursday's unrest comes in advance of Easter weekend, during which republicans mark the anniversary of the 1916 Easter Rising, considered among the most important dates in the struggle for Irish independence.
This year the group claimed responsibility for a vehicle bomb outside the courthouse in Bishop Street, Derry.
"The thoughts and prayers of our city are with the young woman's family and friends, may she rest in peace".
McKee was writing a book on the disappearance of young people during three decades of sectarian violence in Northern Ireland, which ended with the 1998 Good Friday Agreement peace deal.
While leader of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) Robin Swann said news of the death was "devastating".
"Heartbreaking news. A senseless act".