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Essex DA to probe motive in Beverly officer’s shooting

Essex District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett will try to determine the motive behind the shooting of a Beverly police officer by Hamilton Police Sergeant Ken Nagy, and continues to investigate the off-duty violence between the two veteran officers, his spokeswoman said this afternoon.

Carrie Kimball Monahan had said earlier today that the inquiry that began last Friday when Nagy shot and wounded Officer Jason Lantych and then killed himself would not include looking for a motive because Nagy is dead and no criminal charges could be brought against him.

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In a telephone interview with the Globe, she said, “There are still some loose ends that haven’t been completed … but as far as motive is concerned, we will not be making any statements or further inquiry about the motive.’’

However, in a statement released this afternoon, she said wanted to clarify the direction the investigation is taking and her comments.

“The motive for the shooting is of course relevant to the broader investigation by the Massachusetts State Police, the Hamilton and Beverly Police Departments, and this Office,’’ she said.

She added that the “investigation remains ongoing and includes inquiry into any and all criminal activity surrounding the incident, though none has been revealed apart from the shooting itself. I apologize for any confusion.’’

She noted that the violence between the two men took place while both were off-duty, and that “there appears to be no ongoing public safety concerns.’’

She said Blodgett’s office will address whether Nagy used his service weapon during the shooting and subsequent suicide. Ballistic tests are not yet completed, she said.

Nagy and Lantych had arranged to meet Friday near the Starbucks coffee shop on Enon Street. Nagy shot Lantych in the wrist and leg and drove off. Nagy returned to the shooting scene outside the coffee shop around 10:30 p.m., where he shot and killed himself.

Nagy, 43, was the father of two children; Lantych is single.

Lantych, 35, is being treated at Beverly Hospital and was described as “doing OK” by the department on its official Facebook page on Sunday.

Beverly Police Chief Mark A. Ray said he had visited Lantych this afternoon and he was speaking to family, friends, and fellow officer.

“He is still in pain and remains in recovery,” the chief said in an email.

The chief also relayed the following statement from the Lantych family: “We thank our family, friends and our entire community for their prayers, thoughts and well wishes. The past 72 hours have been extremely difficult and we are hopeful that the public acknowledges our right to privacy.”

Hamilton Town Manager Michael A. Lombardo said details of funeral plans for Nagy are being discussed today; he said he believed the family was planning a funeral service later this week.

Lombardo said town officials will play no formal role “but we certainly will attend.” It will be up to Hamilton Police Chief Russell Stevens to determine what role police will play, he said.

Stevens was unavailable for comment this morning.

Lombardo declined to comment on the investigation. But he did say he did not believe the incident reflected the professional conduct of Hamilton police.

“This is not indicative of the police department,” Lombardo said. “These were two private individuals, inasmuch as they were police officers. None of what transpired, to our knowledge, did so as a result of professional police work.”

In 2009, a widespread scandal over EMT training rocked the small town department. Nagy was one of several officers then implicated in the scandal, which led to the resignation of the long-time police chief. Lombardo does not think the most recent incident will tarnish the department’s reputation.

Lombardo has been town manager for two years and Stevens has been in charge of the department during that time. “Under Chief Stevens, it has been a well-run, tight-knit group of officers in a well-run department,’’ Lombardo said.

Nagy was one of three sergeants on the 12-member police force. He supervised the night shift. Lombardo said the small department is deeply grieving the loss of the 19-year veteran.

“It’s a question of grappling with emotions,” he said. “People will have to take it day by day and work through it as needed.”

He said grief counseling was being offered to the department. He said the town will soon have to face the issue of filling Nagy’s position.

“We’re a small department and shift coverage is certainly an issue. There is a void now that we will have to fill,” Lombardo said.

John R. Ellement can be reached at ellement@globe.com.
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