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A 3-way tangle preceded shooting

Reports find wife’s relationship pained sergeant

Beverly police Officer Jason Lantych and Hamilton police Sergeant Kenneth Nagy talked inside of a Starbucks minutes before Nagy allegedly shot Lantych in the parking lot.Essex County District Attorney’s office

BEVERLY - In a phone conversation on the afternoon of Feb. 24, Beverly police Officer Jason Lantych offered to meet Hamilton police Sergeant Kenneth Nagy. Lantych said he would discuss the relationship he had with Nagy’s wife - but only “in a public place so he wouldn’t get shot.’’

“Nagy just laughed it off,’’ according to a State Police report.

Details of the violent confrontation that followed between the two men and Katherine Nagy’s relationship with Lantych are contained in investigative reports released Thursday by Essex District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett and the Beverly Police Department. The reports provide the first insight into a motive for the attack that stunned the North Shore.

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Moments after meeting that afternoon at a North Beverly Starbucks, where Lantych “admitted to having a relationship’’ with Nagy’s wife, Nagy pulled out his department-issued .40-caliber Glock and shot Lantych in the wrist and upper right thigh before fleeing in his car.

Nagy, 43, a 19-year veteran of the Hamilton Police Department, returned to the scene several hours later, killing himself in the Starbucks parking lot with a gunshot to his head.

While a manhunt was underway for her husband, Katherine Nagy, 32, was interviewed by State Police at her parents’ Hamilton home. She and her husband were “in the early stages of getting a divorce,’’ she said, and she had an “emotional relationship’’ with Lantych, 36, with whom she worked at the Beverly Police Department.

She authorized Hamilton police to search the Rowley home she shared with her husband and their two sons. There, police found a six-page suicide note, addressed to her, that Nagy had written on a laptop computer at about 5 p.m. - around the time of his phone conversation with Lantych.

The note said Nagy planned to shoot Lantych and then kill himself. It gave details about the family’s finances, insurance policies, and instructions for his funeral arrangements. Nagy also left $3,900 in cash, according to the Essex District Attorney’s office.

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The report states that Nagy called Lantych early on the morning of Feb. 24. During that conversation, Lantych offered to meet the Hamilton sergeant, who called back at 5 p.m. to confirm the meeting at Starbucks.

Hours after getting out of surgery, Lantych told a police detective that Katherine Nagy, a domestic violence advocate at the Beverly Police Department, “poured her heart out to me,’’ but insisted they never had been intimate with each other. He later told State Police investigators that his relationship with Katherine Nagy “first started as confiding in each other and it got out of hand.’’

In the hours leading up to the shooting, the Nagys had discussed the possibility of ending their marriage, but Katherine Nagy told investigators she did not know her husband planned to shoot Lantych, a 10-year member of the Beverly Police Department.

She also told investigators she tried for six months to have her husband attend marriage counseling. She believed he may have been listening to or taping her phone conversations because, “he was repeating things back to her that were conversations she had on her phone,’’ according to the State Police report.

Lantych was released from a Danvers rehabilitation hospital and is undergoing outpatient physical therapy. It is unclear when he will be able to return to work, said Officer David Costa, the department spokesman.

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The Beverly Police Department has no policy on personal relationships in the workplace, Costa said.

Beverly Police Chief Mark Ray said he has hired an outside consultant to review the department’s response to the shooting and the investigation.

“I have initiated an internal investigation to review this incident and determine whether departmental policies or regulations have been violated and whether new policies need to be implemented to strengthen police operations,’’ Ray said in a statement.

The Hamilton Police Department also planned an internal investigation, Police Chief Russell Stevens, has said. He did not return a phone call on Thursday.

Katherine Nagy was not available for comment, said her mother, Virginia Potter, who answered the phone at Nagy’s Rowley home. Lantych could not be reached.

In a statement, Essex District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett, whose office conducted the investigation, called the shootings “shocking and deeply unsettling,’’ but said his investigation concluded that “no prosecutable crime has been committed’’ because Nagy killed himself after he shot Lantych.

Blodgett’s report details the last two intense days of Nagy’s life, beginning with his return to the couple’s Rowley home at 7 a.m. on Feb. 23 after he finished his shift as overnight commander at the Hamilton department. At 10 a.m., Nagy went to a medical appointment, where he was given a prescription for Zoloft, an antidepressant, which he later filled.

At about noon, Nagy met with his wife at a Beverly police satellite office where the couple discussed the visit to the doctor.

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That evening, Nagy and his wife attended funeral services for retired Hamilton police Sergeant Paul Grant. Nagy later left home to start his midnight shift, but he did not go to the station. Instead, he called in sick, drove around for an hour, and, at 1 a.m., returned home, where he woke up his wife and initiated a conversation about her and Lantych.

“They discussed issues relating to their marriage, including his belief that she was having an improper relationship with Lantych,’’ the report stated. “Included in the discussion was the possibility of divorce.’’

The couple then mapped out their routine for the upcoming day: Katherine Nagy would go to her parents’ home in Hamilton and Nagy would drop their two children off there later. At 2 a.m., a “composed’’ Nagy telephoned a friend to discuss his “future plans,’’ the report said.

At 6:15 a.m., Katherine Nagy left for her parents’ home. Five minutes later, Nagy sent Lantych text messages, the report states.

Nagy texted Lantych: “Hey Jay . . . thanks a lot, buddy.’’ He wrote “see you soon my friend.’’

When he met with his wife at 1 p.m. at her parents’ house, he was “distraught,’’ the report said. He planned to go back to Rowley and work at home while he waited for her to return at 8 p.m.

But instead, Nagy called Lantych about 5 p.m. and the two arranged to meet.

Lantych’s mother drove him to the Starbucks and parked nearby. The brief meeting between the men was captured by shop’s video surveillance camera. They met for nine minutes, inside and outside the store, the report states.

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“Lantych relates that Nagy, though upset, was calm during the conversation.’’

After the meeting, Nagy got into his car and was driving out of the parking lot when he stopped. Lantych approached the vehicle. Nagy fired two shots at Lantych through the vehicle’s open window, striking him in the wrist and thigh, the report states.

Bleeding heavily, Lantych stumbled back to the front of the store, where some patrons rushed out to offer help. When they asked Lantych who shot him, he identified Nagy, who he said “has a few things’’ against him.

Lantych’s mother saw her son bleeding and began to scream, calming only when she was assured he was alive.

Nagy fled, prompting a manhunt. At 10:30 p.m., police were still processing the crime scene when Nagy drove slowly back into the strip mall’s lot, parking behind the Starbucks. When they approached the vehicle, police discovered Nagy was dead, his handgun in his lap.

A copy of the suicide note and his wife’s personal journal lay beside him. Authorities said the note and journal would not be released out of the respect for the family’s privacy.


Kathy McCabe can be reached at kmccabe@globe.com. John Ellement can be reached at ellement@globe.com.