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Hamilton police sergeant remembered as ‘man of faith’

Pallbearers carried the cremated remains of Kenneth Nagy at a funeral mass held today at St. James Roman Catholic Church in Salem.
Pallbearers carried the cremated remains of Kenneth Nagy at a funeral mass held today at St. James Roman Catholic Church in Salem. john tlumacki/globe staff

SALEM -- Hundreds turned out today for the funeral service of Sergeant Kenneth Nagy, the veteran Hamilton police officer who committed suicide a week ago after allegedly shooting a Beverly officer.

The Rev. Louis Bourgeois, the chaplain for Hamilton police, offered “our sincere condolences,” to the Nagy family.

Kenneth Nagy’s widow, Katherine, did not speak during the hour-long funeral service.
Kenneth Nagy’s widow, Katherine, did not speak during the hour-long funeral service.john tlumacki/globe staff

“Why God allows such things to happen, I would be fooling you if I said I knew why,” Bourgeois said during his sermon at St. James Church here. “I do not know. I know God has given us the means to deal with such a tragedy.”

Bourgeois, who knew Nagy for 17 years, spoke of his rich life as a police officer, friend, and family man.

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“His circle of life is vast,” he said noting the hundreds of mourners gathered for the 11 a.m. funeral Mass and the large number of people who attended his wake last night.

Nagy’s best friends, Ken Goulart and Frank Catapano, delivered a brief eulogy in which they recalled their long friendship.

“We are all here to celebrate his life,” said Goulart, who spoke first. “At this moment, it is impossible to say, or do justice” to what he meant to others.

“Let me say that he was a man of faith, his spirit will live on in us,” Goulart said.

Catapano recalled Nagy’s big smile and his famous “eye roll.” “No matter what the situation, he always smiled. ... We are all better people for having known him.”

The service was a traditional Catholic funeral Mass and included a post-Communion singing of “Danny Boy,” a traditional Irish song of farewell.

Nagy’s body was cremated and his remains were brought into the church in a clear glass case. There was no visible presence of uniformed Hamilton Police Department.

The funeral procession was escorted by motorcycles from the Salem Police Department. Burial is private.

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Nagy is alleged to have shot Beverly police Officer Jason Lantych who is recovering from gunshot wounds at Beverly Hospital.

Nagy’s widow, Katherine, who clutched the hands of her two small children as she entered the church, did not speak during the hour-long funeral service.

The funeral home released a statement this afternoon, saying, “Katie and her children are grateful for the enormous outpouring of support they have received and the condolences that have been extended to them during this tragedy. They continue to pray that Jason makes a quick and complete recovery and appreciate and are thankful for the continued respect and support from the community during their time of grief and mourning.”

Investigators have not yet released a motive, but said they are looking into the relationship between Lantych and the widow, who works for the Beverly Police Department as a domestic violence counselor.

Lantych has recovered to the point where he is walking, a Beverly police spokesman said today.

“He’s able to get up and walk around the hallways,” Beverly Police Officer David Costa said this afternoon. “He’s doing good.”

Costa said Lantych has started to receive physical therapy. He was not sure how long Lantych will remain hospitalized recovering from gun shot wounds to his wrist and upper right thigh.

“He still has a long way to go,” he said.