BOSTON (CBS) – The shooting of a Beverly police officer last month was the result of a perceived affair, the Essex District Attorney confirmed Thursday.
Beverly officer Jason Lantych was shot and seriously wounded by off-duty Hamilton Police Sgt. Ken Nagy outside a Starbucks in Beverly February 24th.
Nagy drove off and returned to the parking lot hours later and killed himself.
“Based on the evidence gathered, investigators found that Nagy shot Lantych because of his perception of a relationship between Lantych and his wife,” Carrie Kimball Monahan, a spokeswoman for District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett, said in a statement Thursday afternoon.
Nagy’s wife Katherine worked with Lantych in the Beverly Police Department.
The night before the shooting, Nagy left their home in Rowley to go to work on the midnight shift.
But investigators said he then called in sick, drove around for awhile and returned home to talk to his wife.
“They discussed issues relating to their marriage, including his belief that she was having an improper relationship with Lantych. Included in the discussion was the possibility of a divorce,” the investigative summary released Thursday stated.
At about 6:15 a.m., Katherine went to her parents’ house in Hamilton and Nagy texted Lantych, “Hey Jay … thanks a lot, buddy.”
According to the report, Nagy “called Lantych an expletive and said, “See you soon my friend.”
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About a half-an-hour later, investigators say Katherine called Lantych and told him about her conversation with her husband.
“As they were speaking, Nagy called Lantych; they spoke and Nagy confronted him about the relationship. Lantych said, “it’s not what you think, Ken” and offered to speak with him in person. The conversation ended,” the report stated.
At 5 p.m., Nagy called Lantych and said he would like to meet him in Hamilton.
According to the report, “Lantych suggested they meet at the Starbucks in Beverly; he joked that this was so Nagy would not shoot him. Nagy reportedly laughed and agreed to meet him there. Lantych was driven there by his mother.”
They met near the front door of the Starbucks at 5:36 p.m.
“Nagy periodically checked his cell phone. Lantych relates that Nagy, though upset, was calm during the conversation,” the report stated.
“Lantych retrieved his coffee, and both walked out the front door of the Starbucks and turned to the right; they spoke for a few seconds before the conversation ended and Nagy walked to his vehicle.”
“Lantych walked back toward the front door of the Starbucks and began to call his mother to pick him up. Nagy backed out his vehicle and 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 said.
Lantych told investigators he didn’t see the gun and couldn’t recall what Nagy said before shooting him.
According to the report, “Lantych stumbled toward the front door of the Starbucks, bleeding heavily.Dispatch received six separate 911 calls concerning the shots.”
Nagy drove off in his SUV.
Several people rushed to help Lantych.
Casey Paul Bennett was at the scene and gave his belt to another witness so it could serve as a tourniquet. Bennett and a Starbucks worker applied pressure to the wound on Lantych’s wrist.
Bennett asked Lantych what Nagy had against him and Lantych replied, “He has a few things” or “a couple of things.”
Police went to Nagy’s home and found a suicide note. But they had no idea where he was.
“State Police interviewed Katherine at her parents’ home in Hamilton. She was unaware of Nagy’s plans to shoot Lantych, had not heard from him that afternoon, and did not know his whereabouts,” the report stated.
At 10:30 p.m, nearly five hours after the shooting, an officer saw Nagy in the SUV turn into the Starbucks parking lot.
According to the report, “He drove into the lower parking lot behind Statbucks and parked. There were no other people in the lot. The plate was confirmed as Nagy’s, and police took up positions near the rear of the SUV, which was not running and had no lights on. It was soon discovered that Nagy, who was sitting in the operator’s seat with a handgun in his lap, had taken his life. A copy of the suicide note and a journal were beside him. An autopsy determined the cause of death was a single gunshot wound to the head and the manner of death a suicide.”
Nagy, 44, was a 19-year police veteran. He left behind his wife and two young children.
Lantych, 35, is a 10-year veteran of the Beverly force. He was seriously wounded but thanks to the bystander, he is now recovering.
WBZ-TV’s Bill Shields contributed to this report.