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A New Hampshire State police cruiser guards a crash scene, the site of a police-involved shooting Wednesday night (Pat Grossmith/Union Leader)

Two officers pinpointed in Weare shooting

WEARE — Weare Police Department payroll records give a clear indication of which two Weare officers were put on administrative leave after the August police shooting of an alleged Manchester drug dealer.

The two officers — Sgt. Kenneth Cox and Officer Nicolas Nadeau — saw their overtime drop to zero for the next three months, a time when the two officers who fired their weapons were on paid administrative leave and not allowed to perform police work.

Weare police provided the payroll information after the New Hampshire Union Leader filed a request under the right-to-know law. Police Chief John Velleca said he could not provide any comment or interpretation.

"You know I can't confirm any of this," Velleca said Thursday. He said the New Hampshire Attorney General's Office is in charge of the investigation, and referred questions to the office.

The prosecutor overseeing the case, Senior Assistant Attorney General Susan Morrell, would not address questions about Cox and Nadeau. To identify subjects of an open investigation is to subject them to rank speculation, she said.

"We're in the middle of an ongoing criminal investigation," she said. "Until that investigation is complete, we're not prepared to identify the individuals who are the subject of the investigation."

Authorities have said that two officers fired their weapons in the Aug. 14 killing of Alex Cora DeJesus, 35, at Lanctot's Plaza on Route 114. Authorities have said the shooting took place during a botched undercover drug operation.

DeJesus' father subsequently said his son, who has a record of drug crimes, was unarmed and had no drugs in his possession at the time of his death.

Immediately after the shooting, authorities placed the two officers who fired their weapons on leave but would not identify them. Early last month, prosecutors from the Attorney General's Office named all five officers who participated in the undercover drug operation.

Cox and Nadeau were the only two of the five who saw their overtime drop to zero, starting with their Aug. 29 paycheck. Telephone messages left for them at the Weare Police Department on Thursday were not returned.

The other three identified by the attorney general last month continued to receive overtime after the August shooting, a clear indication they remained on the job.

Earlier this year, Velleca said overtime has ballooned in his department; he brought the two officers back for administrative work starting in November. The two are sent on calls in case of emergencies, the chief said.

Overtime resumed for Cox in his Dec. 5 paycheck, and he has received it weekly until early February, which ends the time frame of the Union Leader's request.

Nadeau first saw overtime on his Dec. 26 paycheck and has received it sporadically since then.

Velleca said he couldn't discuss job assignments for the officers identified in the attorney general's report. To do so would identify those who are on administrative duty, he said.

mhayward@unionleader.com


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