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Family, Friends & Fellow Officers Remember...

Trooper Leslie George Lord | New Hampshire State Police, New Hampshire New Hampshire State Police, New Hampshire

Trooper

Leslie George Lord

New Hampshire State Police, New Hampshire

End of Watch: Tuesday, August 19, 1997
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Reflections for Trooper Leslie George Lord

 

RIP Trooper

Printed today in the Valley News

N.H. Town Recalls Deadly Shooting
By Kathy Mccormack
Associated Press
Sunday, August 13, 2017

Twenty years ago, an angry loner with a gun murdered four people, two of them state troopers, in the New Hampshire town of Colebrook, wounded four other officers and was killed in a shootout with police in Vermont.

Today, people still hesitate to mention Carl Drega’s name, but they strive to remember the four lost on Aug. 19, 1997.

“One thing we try to avoid is talking about Carl Drega,” said Lt. Gary Prince, commander of Troop F in Twin Mountain, where the two fallen troopers were based. “What happens is that name is the only name that people know. ... We try to make it about the victims and their families, as opposed to the perpetrator of it.”

Troop F is organizing a 55-mile relay run Friday in New Hampshire from the supermarket where troopers Les Lord and Scott Phillips were shot, along Route 3 to the Twin Mountain barracks. Runners will take turns through the night to “bring memories of their fallen brothers from the north country back to their barracks.” It will culminate with an annual flag-raising ceremony that has come to honor all fallen officers.

“Nobody was working here at the time when they were killed, but yet here we are still, keeping their memory alive, so that’s important,” Prince said.

Also being remembered are Vickie Bunnell, an attorney and part-time judge killed outside her office at the Colebrook News & Sentinel, and editor Dennis Joos, who tried to wrestle away Drega’s assault rifle. A monument to the four with their images is near the paper.

For a small group who knew the four well, though, the memories of the shooting are still raw.

“It’s a stumbling block for me, in a way,” said John Harrigan, of Colebrook, who was publisher of the News & Sentinel. “I replay the whole thing every now and then in my mind and just wonder why I was not one of the dead. I was supposed to stay in my office in the afternoon and go fishing with Vickie’s dad.”

Drega, 62, a carpenter in nearby Columbia, had a long history of conflict with town officials over property issues. Some believed he blamed his wife’s 1972 death from cancer on stress from the disputes. The town took him to court over a zoning violation because he refused to finish a tar paper-covered house.

One night in 1991, Drega wouldn’t leave town hall as he rummaged through property files. Bunnell, then a town selectwoman, called state police, who handcuffed and removed him. On another occasion, Bunnell and a tax assessor went to Drega’s house, where Drega fired shots to scare them off.

That Aug. 19, Phillips wanted to talk to Drega about his rusted-out pickup. He saw it parked at the supermarket and pulled in, radioing Lord that he was there. As Phillips got out of his cruiser, Drega raised an assault rifle and started shooting. Phillips ran for cover. Lord, who didn’t know what had happened, pulled into the parking lot. Drega opened fire. He went back to Phillips and shot him several more times before driving away in Phillips’ cruiser.

Shortly afterward, Drega shot Bunnell and Joos. Drega then drove to his home in Columbia and set it on fire. He headed into Vermont with police following, wounded four officers and was killed in gunfire in the woods.

John Pfeifer, a U.S. Border Patrol agent who was coming to the aid of a wounded trooper, was struck in the shoulder by a bullet. It pierced his lung before exiting out his back.

“I’m waiting for help because where my position is now, no one can come up to get me because they’re going to expose themselves to this guy shooting at them,” Pfeifer recalled. I don’t know the timeline. It seemed like forever. ... My whole left side was starting to go numb. And I just wanted to stay conscious so that I could defend myself if he came down over the bank.”

Police later found thousands of rounds of armor-piercing ammunition, dozens of pipe-bomb casings and motion sensors at Drega’s home.

“He had been probably conspiring to do something at a higher level, and he just so happened to be pulled over that day, and went sideways,” said Pfeifer, who now commands the Border Patrol sector running 295 miles from Ogdensburg, N.Y., to the New Hampshire-Maine line. “But what his ultimate plans were, I’m not sure if anybody ever knew or knows what they were.”

In addition to the monument, a mountain has been named for Bunnell. Portions of Route 3 in northern New Hampshire have been named after Lord and Phillips. A library in Colebrook was named for Joos.

Their loss still lingers.

“This is still a very horrible time,” said Scott Stepanian, the school resource officer in Colebrook who worked as a trooper alongside with Lord and Phillips. “All four people were just the salt of the earth.”

Police Officer - Retired
New York City Police Department
August 13, 2017

RIP Les.......never forgotten. Your smile, laugh and heart of gold left an indelible imprint on so many. Hope you're making them laugh up there. Thanks for making my "junior years" fun.

SrSA Heidi M. Jordan - NICB
International Association of Auto Theft Investigators (IAATI) President, 2014-2015
August 19, 2015

In our current troubled times for the brave men and women who wear the badge of honor I wanted you and your family to know that many of us greatly appreciate your sacrifice. 18 years may have passed but you are not forgotten Les. I remember your laugh as if I just heard it yesterday.

TFC Charles Hanson
Retired, NH State Police
May 23, 2015

In our current troubled times for the brave men and women who wear the badge of honor I wanted you and your family to know that many of us greatly appreciate your sacrifice. 18 years may have passed but you are not, and will never be, forgotten Scott.

TFC Charles Hanson
Retired, NH State Police
May 23, 2015

Thank you for your service and unselfish sacrifice for your fellow man! You belong to HIM now and forever! May your family and friends find comfort and peace in that fact. God Bless!

Rev. Steven R. Closs, D.D.
Retired Captain, Nashua Police Department, Nashua, NH
June 9, 2013

To well I remember that faithfull day when I heard of your death & that of Trooper Phillips. As a fellow LEO & NH native my heart went out to your families, especially your children. As I stood with all the others at your funeral that day I said a prayer for you both as you passed our ranks into the gym. I remember meeting you at the start of my law enforcement carreer @ a meeting of the Coos County Law Enforcement Assoc. and how you made such an impression on me with your humanity, humor and your laugh. God bless you & your family & I will remember you the rest of my life and try to honor your memory always.

W.Lavertue,Immigration Enforcement Agent
Department of Homeland Security
April 19, 2010

You surely met evil face to face that fateful day. Thanks for your bravery and
service in so many different arenas.
Lynn Kole
Bellingham, WA

Anonymous
August 19, 2008

"The Badge"

He starts his shift each day
To respond to calls unknown.
He drives a marked patrol car.
A police officer he is known.

He's paid by the citizens' taxes
To make it safe on the streets.
But he usually has a second job
'Cause a waitress has his salary beat.

Now he doesn't know a holiday
'Cause he works all year round.
And when Thanksgiving and Christmas finally arrive
At his home he cannot be found.

He's cursed and assaulted often,
The one whos blood runs blue.
He seldom ever gets a thanks,
To some he's just a fool.

His friends are always other cops
'Cause people just don't understand
That underneath his badge and gun,
He's just another man.

He knows there might not be a tomorrow
In this world of drugs and crime.
And he gets so mad at the court system
'Cause the crooks don't get any time.

And each day when he leaves for work,
He prays to God above.
Please bring me home after my shift
So I can see the ones I love.

But tonight he stops a speeding car,
He's alone down this ole' highway.
It's just a little traffic infraction.
He does it everyday.

Well, he walks up to the driver's window,
And his badge is shining bright.
He asked the guy for a driver's license,
When a shot rang through the night.

Yes, the bullet hit its mark,
Striking the officer in the chest.
But the Department's budget didn't buy
Each officer a bullet-proof vest.

So he lay on the ground bleeding.
His blood wasn't blue - His blood was red.
And briefly he thought of his loved ones
'Cause in a moment the officer was dead.

In the news they told the story
Of how this officer had died.
And some who listened cared less,
But those who loved him cried.

Well, they buried him in uniform
With his badge pinned on his chest.
He even had his revolver,
He died doing his best.

Written By:
David L. Bell
Sergeant
Richland County Sheriff's Department
Columbia, South Carolina
Used with Special Permission of the Author
Copyright © 1999 - All Rights Reserved
and may not be duplicated without permission

Investigator David L Bell
Richland County Sheriff's Dept., Columbia, SC
December 11, 2007

10 years have passed since your brutal murder. May your family be comforted by the fact that you will FOREVER be a hero and will NEVER be forgotten! Until one day in Heaven we meet, keep walking your beat on the Golden Street keeping an eye on the thin blue line.

DET SGT, Retired
AR
August 19, 2007

My prayers are with you and your family.

Former N.H. Police Officer
Fauquier County, VA
August 19, 2007

Trooper Lord,
It has been 10 years since you responded to that call to aid another trooper and were confronted by an angry man with nothing to lose. Your sacrifice has yet to be forgotten in this great state and the lives you touched in your life have remained to this day better off for having known you Trooper Lord. Rest easy now Trooper and stand tall as you walk Heaven's beat with fellow Trooper Phillips and the many other men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice.

New Hampshire Boy
August 19, 2007

Though 10 years have passed since you left us, your laugh will forever echo in our hearts. More Saturday mornings than I can remember I woke to you and my father telling stories in our kitchen. You will always be in my thoughts and prayers.

Karen O'Brien
Friend
August 16, 2007

Sir, I honor your service and your sacrifice. "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the children of God." Matthew 5:9.

Daniel
Brother of A Deceased LEO - NH
October 17, 2006

It has been nine years and you have not been forgotten. Thankyou for your dedicated service to law enforcement and the people of the State of New Hampshire. You are a true hero and heroes never die. Keep watch over your loved ones and those still out on patrol.

Bob Gordon, father of fallen Chicago Officer
Michael P. Gordon, EOW: 8/8/04

Bob Gordon, Chicago Gold Star Father
August 24, 2006

To the family and loved ones of Trooper Leslie George Lord and his fellow officers with the New Hampshire State Police:

On this the ninth anniversary of Leslie's tragic death, I wanted to honor and remember him today. Leslie's professionalism and dedication will never be forgotten.

In reading the loving reflections left by his friends and co-workers I can see that he was very well respected and is sorely missed. I hope that God is holding him in the sweetest part of his heart and the most gentle part of his soul.

I am so sorry that Leslie was robbed of his life so tragically, but through his heroism and the profound sense of duty with which he lived his life, he made an immeasurable difference. May his spirit continue to soar and may his memory continue to inspire.

This reflection is sent with the utmost respect for the dedicated service Leslie gave to his community and the citizens of New Hampshire, and for the supreme sacrifice he and his family made on August 19, 1997.

Phyllis L. Loya, mother of fallen officer Larry Lasater, PPD
eow 4/24/05


August 21, 2006

Trooper Lord, thank you for your service to your fellowman. Rest in peace my brother. May God bless you.

State Constable J.L. Green
S.C. State Constables
March 17, 2006

Rest in peace Trooper Lord, you will never be forgotten. May God be with your family, friends, and brothers during their time of need.




Cpl Paul Rochat
Swiss Army, MP Service, Traffic Unit
March 12, 2006

I MET YOUR MOM HELEN LAST WEEK AND SHE PROUDLY WORE YOUR PICTURE PENDANT AROUND HER NECK. I SHARED MY GRIEF OF LOSING TWO FRIENDS IN FOUR MONTHS FOUR YEARS AGO. I KNOW THE THREE OF YOU ARE IN A PEACEFUL PLACE LOOKING DOWN ON ALL OF US. REST EASY MY FRIEND I HAVE NEVER MET AND PROTECT YOUR FELLOW BROTHERS AND SISTERS ON OUR WATCH. YOU MAY BE GONE BUT NEVER FOGOTTEN.

OFFICER NADINE PIAZZA
ORLANDO POLICE DEPARTMENT
September 25, 2004

What an incredible legacy of service and sacrifice. I am grateful for Trooper Lord's sacrifice, now almost 7 years later. May he rest in peace and God comfort his family and friends. You served us well, Trooper Lord, THANK YOU!!

Pat
Baltimore, MD
December 30, 2003

Dear Troopers Lord and Phillips,



I attended your funeral just a few months ago. It was a very difficult and eye opening
experience for me. I have since had time to reflect upon it. Ever since I was young I have
wanted to be a Trooper and follow in your foot steps to serve and protect. I have always known
of the danger of the job and the chance my life could be taken in the line of duty, however
never before did it hit home the way it did with you two. As I stood in ranks watching your
caskets being moved into the gym and saluting the two men I didn't know, I was heart broken to
think of your families and what you left, to put this, your life, on the line and to lose. I
know now more then ever I want to stand there where you once stood. I want to stand tall, and
proud as a New Hampshire State Police Trooper and do the job the way you both did it every day
of your lives with grace and perfection. Thank you for the inspiration, and know I will always
remember and keep with me the thought and remberance of you both as I work in law enforcment
and carry on all the days of my life.



Sincerely with great appreciation,

Cadet Henry E. Geberth, III
Norwich University - Corps of Cadets

Rest easy, Troop. Your time here cut short, you will always be remembered a hero.

Deputy M. Moore
Warren County S.O. (OH)

 
 

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