BEVERLY - Two communities continued to grapple yesterday with the shock of the violence that pitted one town’s police sergeant against an officer from a neighboring force in a coffee shop late Friday afternoon.
Beverly police Officer Jason Lantych, shot and seriously injured by a Hamilton police sergeant who later took his own life, is recovering at a local hospital, his department said yesterday.
“Friends and family have been able to speak to Officer Lantych and he appears to be doing OK,’’ the Beverly Police Department wrote on its official Facebook page. “He still has a long way to go. Thanks again for your thoughts and prayers.’’
Lantych, 35, is being treated at Beverly Hospital.
Meanwhile, Hamilton police are mourning the death of their colleague, Sergeant Ken Nagy, 43, who arrived at a Starbucks coffee shop on Enon Street for a prearranged meeting with Lantych and then shot him in the leg and wrist outside the shop, according to Essex District Attorney Jonathan W. Blodgett. Nagy fled, then returned to the parking lot there about 10:30 p.m. and shot himself, according to Blodgett.
Black bunting hung over the Hamilton police station door yesterday, and officers had covered their badges with mourning bands. Flowers and cards from well-wishers have been trickling in, said Sergeant Steve Trepanier said.
“It’s still fresh,’’ he said. “It takes some time. We’re all still trying to figure things out.’’
No one answered the door at the Nagy residence in nearby Rowley yesterday.
A neighbor, Mark Cirino, 33, said he had lived next to the couple for seven years and saw them from time to time.
“There was nothing to indicate that something like that could have happened,’’ he said.
Authorities are still trying to determine whether Nagy used his service weapon to shoot Lantych and later himself, according to Blodgett’s spokeswoman, Carrie Kimball-Monahan.
“Ballistics tests are being done and we have to verify it against Nagy’s service weapon,’’ she wrote yesterday in an e-mail. “This is going to take a little while, but we are working on it.’’
Blodgett’s office has released few details about the shooting, except to say the men knew each other and had agreed to meet at the Starbucks.
The district attorney’s office also said that Nagy’s wife, Katie, works as an advocate for domestic violence victims with a nonprofit called HAWC, under a grant to the Beverly Police Department.
Katie Nagy has worked for the program for two years, according to Candace Waldron, executive director of HAWC, an acronym for Healing Abuse Working for Change. Nagy’s duties range from helping victims obtain restraining orders to placing parents and children in trauma recovery programs, she said.
“She follows up with victims and links them to services,’’ Waldron said.
Despite the violent actions of Katie Nagy’s husband, Waldron said she knew of no problems between the couple.
“There is no evidence of past domestic violence between Katie and her husband, or evidence of violence of any kind,’’ she said.
Kimball-Monahan said yesterday that she could not release any information about the purpose of the meeting between Nagy and Lantych, a motive for the shooting, or Lantych’s condition.
A nurse and a premed student were among the Starbucks customers lauded by law enforcement officials Saturday for helping to save Lantych’s life.
Deborah Crosbie , 58, a registered nurse from Hamilton who works at a Boston hospital, was reading by a window in the Starbucks Friday afternoon.
“I heard these two loud cracks,’’ she said yesterday in a phone interview. “Then all of a sudden, I heard a man scream.’’
She followed a Starbucks employee out the door. “I noticed there was an awful lot of blood, and it looked like it [bullet] had gotten an artery. His jeans were soaked and there was a lot of blood,’’ she said.
She knelt at Lantych’s right side.
“I just started applying pressure to his femoral artery,’’ she said. “I noticed his color was not good. He kept closing his eyes. I was instructing others who were helping to keep talking to him.’’
Crosbie said someone asked Lantych if he knew the shooter. “He nodded and said, ‘Yeah, Ken,’ and someone asked, ‘Ken who?’ and he said ‘Ken Nagy.’ ’’
She said Lantych said his name was Jay. “We didn’t know he was a policeman at this point. We just kept saying, ‘You’re OK. You’re OK. Jay, stay with us.’ ’’
As she and others worked to save Lantych, Crosbie heard a woman behind her shout, “Oh, my God, Jason. That’s my son.’’
After emergency personnel arrived, Crosbie turned to look at the woman and recognized her as as a former co-worker at Beverly Hospital before she got into the ambulance.
John Sholomith, 21, of Boxford, a premed student at Harvard Extension School, said he was seated at the back of Starbucks, listening to the Rolling Stones on headphones and studying for a neuropsychology exam, when he noticed commotion.
“People were running in all directions, jumping out of their chairs,’’ Sholomith recalled yesterday. “I took a quick sprint to the door, and saw that a man had collapsed outside. I noticed he was drenched in a growing quantity of blood and heard he had been shot.’’
Sholomith, who said he is trained as an emergency responder, said he went outside to assist a nurse who was trying to stabilize Lantych, when a woman arrived identifying herself as Lantych’s mother, he said.
“She was hysterical, frantic. She was saying, ‘Is that my son? Is that my son?’ ’’ Sholomith recalled. “She was screaming and crying, ‘I’m his mother, I’m his mother.’ ’’
Sholomith said he and others tried to calm her down.
“I told her I thought he had stopped bleeding enough that he would be OK,’’ he said. “She said, ‘OK, OK, thank you.’ ’’
An aspiring surgeon, Sholomith said he was glad he was in a position to help.
“I am actually very humbled to be able to take care of a gentleman of the law,’’ he said. “I helped a cop. That’s fantastic.’’