Officers in killing planned meeting
BEVERLY — The day after a Hamilton police sergeant allegedly shot a Beverly police officer outside a Starbucks, then ended his own life in the parking lot there hours later, the status of the wounded police officer is unclear.
Officer Jason Lantych underwent surgery last night after sustaining “very serious injuries” and was in serious condition, Essex District Attorney Jonathan W. Blodgett said last night. Today, Carrie Kimball-Monahan, spokeswoman for Blodgett, said there are no updates. A Beverly Hospital spokeswoman said the hospital is not releasing any information about Lantych’s condition.
At the scene of the shooting this morning, all was back to normal: Police tape was removed, and cars came in and out of the parking spots in the area where Lantych was wounded shortly before 6 p.m. and where Sergeant Ken Nagy’s body was discovered in his black Saab SUV after returning there about 10:30 p.m.
At Nick’s Famous Roast Beef, a diner two blocks away from the site of the shooting, employee Brenna MacKay, 29, said Nagy and Lantych were regulars at the restaurant, often coming in for lunch or late dinner after their shifts.
She said she never saw them come in together, however.
Lantych, she said, is “extremely outgoing, boisterous, and fun.” The officer, who she said was single, often cracked jokes with employees at the restaurant.
Nagy had a wife and two small children, MacKay said, though she never saw them at the restaurant.
“He was always so nice, and quiet, and very polite,” MacKay said. “We’d joke around with him, and with all the officers who come in here.”
Other police officers who knew the men came into the diner late last night, upset and struggling to understand what prompted the altercation, she said.
“Everyone’s just kind of torn up about it,” MacKay said. “Shootings just don’t happen in Beverly.”
Town and city officials in Hamilton and Beverly said their communities are reeling after hearing about the tragedy.
“People are just despondent,” said Jennifer Scuteri, chair of the Hamilton Board of Selectmen. “We’re close with Beverly as well, and we have a lot of compassion for friends and families and everyone involved.”
Scuteri said she knew Nagy personally and described him as “always professional and always personable.”
Beverly City Councilor Scott Dullea said that although he doesn’t personally know Lantych, he is well-respected.
He has “a good reputation on the force,” he said. “I’ve heard from multiple sources he’s a good cop.”
Dullea said he could sense a profound sense of shock in the city when he went out to breakfast with his wife Saturday morning at Stephy’s Kitchen, a local restaurant.
“No one knows why it happened, people are trying to put things together,” he said. “A shooting is shocking enough in Beverly,” he said, but that police officers were involved compounds the shock.