(BEVERLY, Mass.) — A Massachusetts police officer suspected in the shooting of a fellow officer was found dead in what appeared to be a suicide, police said Friday night.
Investigators said an off-duty sergeant from a nearby town, Hamilton, was the suspect in shooting Beverly Police Officer Jason Lantych outside a Starbucks coffee shop at a strip mall.
The suspected gunman was identified as Sgt. Kenneth Nagy, who allegedly fled the scene in a black SUV.
Witnesses told police they heard multiple gunshots right before Lantych stumbled into the Starbucks just before 6 p.m, bleeding from a wound in his groin area. Patrons immediately came to his aid.
“He was shot in the groin area,” one man told ABC News affiliate WCVB. “We elevated his leg and applied pressure and I told my buddy to apply pressure, we got the bleeding to slow down a little bit.”
Lantych was rushed to the hospital and underwent surgery Friday night. Police told WCVB he was listed in critical condition.
Meanwhile investigators identified Nagy as the prime suspect in the shooting. A warrant for his arrest was issued and a statewide manhunt was launched.
Essex County District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett warned the public during a press conference Friday night that Nagy was armed and dangerous.
“We believe he shot him and we want the public’s assistance. Give us information if they see him, but do not approach him,” Blodgett said.
Nagy had been at large for a few hours after the initial shooting, but reports indicate that about 15 minutes after the plea from the district attorney, the search was over.
As officers made their move towards Nagy’s SUV, parked in a parking lot on the opposite side of the building from where the mayhem began, he fatally shot himself.
The Massachusetts State Police told ABC News that they will not make any further comments on the case and that it’s being handled by the Essex County District Attorney’s Office.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Z. Byron Wolf, CNN
Susan Scutti, CNN
Andreas Preuss, CNN
Lorenzo Ferrigno, CNN