Ballistic tests on bullets show that a similar calibre weapon has been used in attacks in Derry over recent months.
Forensic scientists have told detectives that bullet casings recovered at the scene are similar to ones recovered from several paramilitary style attacks in the area by dissident republican terrorists.
The key target now for the PSNI’s Major Investigation Team is to find the weapon, to unmask the gunman who fired the fatal shot which killed the 29-year-old journalist and also arrest his accomplices.
Detectives issued fresh CCTV footage today of the masked gunman and two of his accomplices in Creggan last Thursday night in a period before shots rang out.
They are captured walking to the scene, with one male carrying a crate of petrol bombs which were later used to attack police vehicles.
The officer leading the hunt for Lyra’s killers has appealed again for witnesses to come forward with information about the ‘New IRA’ gang that would help his team put them before a court on murder and terrorist charges.
A reward of £10,000 has been offered by independent charity Crimestoppers for any information which leads to arrest and conviction of those responsible for Lyra’s barbaric murder.
Det Supt Jason Murphy of MIT said today: “I want to find the people who murdered Lyra and I believe the information that can help us bring those responsible to justice lies within the local community.
“Approximately 100 people were on the ground on the night Lyra was murdered – people saw the gunman and his associates.
“I think people within the community know who they are. I’m asking them to come forward and help us.
“I’m releasing footage today from the night of Lyra’s murder and I want to appeal to anyone who recognises or knows these people to talk to us.“About one minute before Lyra was murdered, three men walked across Central Drive from the direction of the shops.
“In the footage you can see these men.
“At the front you can see a man circled – he’s carrying a crate of petrol bombs towards where the crowd including children, were standing. He is the tallest of the three men – I want to know who he is.
(Watch the CCTV footage here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NhaSUCimYps#action=share
“Behind him you can see two other men. The man on the inside nearest the wall is the next tallest.
“He’s wearing dark skinny jeans, blue Nike trainers with a white tick and a white sole. He’s wearing a camouflage scarf or other covering across his face. Do you know this man?
“In other footage he can be seen holding a petrol bomb and in the new light his clothing is clearly visible.
“As he walked along the footpath, he was accompanied by the third man. In the footage you can see that he is shorter than both of the other men and of stocky build.
“It’s my belief he is the gunman that fired indiscriminately into the crowd, placed the community and police officers at risk and took the life of Lyra.
“You can see he is wearing dark clothing and in other footage you can see this clothing in a different light.
“People know who he is.
“I recognise people living in Creggan may feel it’s difficult to come forward to speak to police.
“I want to provide a personal reassurance that we are able to deal with these concerns sensitively.
“At Lyra’s funeral on Wednesday we heard many messages about the potential for a better future but as I have said previously, such sentiment will all be in vain if collectively we cannot tackle the malign influence that some individuals continue to exert over our communities.
“I am really grateful to the Crimestoppers charity for supporting our efforts to unlock the information that I believe rests within the community.“The substantial reward is a recognition of the challenges that the community may feel exist.
“To date, we have received widespread public support including more than 140 people providing images, footage and other details via our dedicated Major Incident Public Portal.
“However, community information and intelligence is not evidence. Such information simply gets me through the door but it doesn’t get me to a courtroom.
“I need people to contact my team, to talk to us about what they know. I would urge anyone who has any information, or who witnessed the murder, to contact the police on 101.
“Or if someone would prefer to provide information without giving their details, they can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers and speak to them anonymously on 0800 555 111.”