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Keene mourns police chief after 'untimely' death

By PAUL FEELY
New Hampshire Union Leader

March 09. 2017 8:24PM

BRIAN COSTA 

KEENE — Police Chief Brian Costa died Thursday.

State police said Costa was discovered dead at his home in Keene.

"New Hampshire State Police is currently investigating the facts and circumstances surrounding this untimely death," police said in a statement.

An autopsy is scheduled for Friday morning.

Mayor Kendall Lane said he believed Costa was 46.

"He was a great police officer, with a great love for the city, the people of Keene and his job," said Lane. "He loved being a police officer. I wish I knew more about what happened, but state police are handling everything."

Lane said he did not believe foul play was involved in Costa’s death.

In a news release Friday morning, Keene City Manager Medard Kopczynski appointed Capt. Steven Russo, a 17-year veteran of the Keene Police Department,  as acting police chief.  

"At this time we are focused on supporting (Costa's) family, the members of his department, and all City employees who so respected him and his service to the Keene community," the release stated.   

Upon learning of Costa’s death, Gov. Chris Sununu issued a statement expressing his condolences.

"I want to express my deepest condolences to the family of Chief Brian Costa," said Sununu. "A dedicated public servant, Brian was among the brave men and women of our police force who work tirelessly to keep our communities safe. For that, we are grateful."

Manchester police tweeted: "We are deeply saddened to hear of the untimely death of Keene Police Chief Brian Costa. #NHPSTC109 May you eternally Rest In Peace."

In a post on the Cheshire County Sheriff’s Office Facebook page Sheriff Eliezer "Eli" Rivera wrote, "Today we lost a great man and good friend dedicated to his family and the community he loved. You will be forever missed."

New Hampshire State Police tweeted: "Our thoughts go out to Keene, NH Police Department and the friends and family of Chief Costa."

According to information posted online, Costa was hired as a police officer with the Keene department in 1996. He was promoted to the rank of police captain in June 2011, and became chief in 2015.

Posts about Costa began appearing on Facebook on Thursday night.

"Words cannot express how heartbroken I am," wrote Jessica White. "Brian was an impeccable chief and a truly genuine man. I have had the pleasure of getting to know him and the honor of being a part of the ChAARI program (Cheshire County Addiction Assistance Recovery Initiative) he worked so hard to bring to life in our community.

His willingness to help others has always been above and beyond."

"Such a tragic loss for his wife, children, extended family and our community," wrote Lynne McGreer.

pfeely@unionleader.com


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