BEVERLY — As he lay in a hospital bed hours after being shot twice by another police officer, Jason Lantych confessed that he had a "moment of weakness" with that officer's wife, but then added, "I was never intimate with her."
Lantych's statements, made in a conversation with a fellow Beverly police officer at 1 a.m. after he was shot, shed further light on the relationship between Lantych and Katie Nagy and the motivation behind the Feb. 24 shooting by Hamilton police Sgt. Kenneth Nagy.
The Essex County District Attorney's Office said yesterday that Nagy shot Lantych "because of his perception of a relationship" between Lantych and his wife. Nagy returned to the scene later and killed himself with a gunshot to the head.
Police interviews with Lantych and Katie Nagy in the hours after the shooting reveal that Lantych and Katie Nagy in fact had a relationship. The police reports were obtained by The Salem News from the district attorney's office after a public records request.
When Beverly police Chief Mark Ray and three other Beverly officers visited Lantych at the hospital after he was shot, Lantych asked the others to leave the room so he could speak with Detective Lt. Timothy Hegarty in private.
Still groggy from the medication he had been given at Beverly Hospital, Lantych told Hegarty that he had known Katie Nagy since high school and that she had "poured her heart out to me" in recent conversations.
"I had a moment of weakness," Lantych told Hegarty.
"I tried to tell Jason, who appeared to be falling asleep, to get some rest and not worry about the situation," Hegarty wrote in his report. "He then said, 'I was never intimate with her.'"
According to an unidentified person interviewed by police, Lantych said he had hurt someone, "not physically, but emotionally."
Lantych asked if the unidentified person thought he was a "horrible person." The person answered, "Of course not."
The police reports also reveal that Kenneth and Katie Nagy were in the early stages of getting a divorce. In an interview with state police at her parents' home five hours after the shooting, with her two sons sleeping upstairs, Katie Nagy said her husband had just become aware of her "emotional relationship" with Lantych.
Katie Nagy said that she had admitted the relationship earlier that day, and Kenneth told her he was looking for a divorce attorney. Katie said she had been in marriage counseling for six months.
She also told police that she suspected that her husband had been listening to or taping her conversations because he was repeating things back to her that she had said in telephone conversations.
A Beverly police officer had told Nagy that his wife was "screwing around," she said.
Katie Nagy was a victim advocate for the Beverly Police Department's domestic violence unit. Lantych had received specialized training in domestic violence and worked with her at the Police Department.
The summary of the investigation released yesterday lays out the details leading up to the shooting and Kenneth Nagy's suicide.
Mark Potter, Katie Nagy's father, declined to comment yesterday. He said the family plans to release a statement.
In a statement, District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett called the shooting and suicide "shocking and deeply unsettling." Other than the shooting itself, however, Blodgett said investigators uncovered no "prosecutable crime."
The investigation was conducted by senior state police detectives who did not know and had not worked with Nagy or Lantych, the DA's office said. Investigators interviewed 21 citizens and witnesses and reviewed police reports, videotape footage, audio recordings, ballistics evidence, computer forensic analyses and phone records.
Beverly police Chief Mark Ray issued a statement yesterday saying that he has initiated an internal investigation that has been assigned to an outside professional consultant. The review will determine whether department polices or regulations have been violated and whether new policies need to be implemented, he said.
"I will respond to the findings in an appropriate and timely manner," Ray said.
Ray said that the department will formally recognize the three citizens who "acted so swiftly and bravely to save officer Lantych's life." That recognition will take place once Lantych has recovered enough to participate personally, he said.
Lantych, 35, a 10-year veteran of the department, was released from the hospital this week and is undergoing physical therapy.
"The shooting and near-fatal attack upon a fellow police officer has weighed heavily upon the men and women of the Beverly Police Department and our community," Ray said. "It is the intent of the Beverly Police Department to improve this organization in every way possible, so that we may continue the good work of protecting our citizens."