Memorial service held in Colebrook, NH to remember the victims of the shooting


A memorial service was held in Colebrook on Friday to remember the victims of a shooting 25 years ago. A marker is in Monument Park next to the News and Sentinel building where two of the victims died. Two New Hampshire state troopers, a judge and an editor were killed after a man went on a rampage. Carl Drega killed four people and injured four others in Colebrook on August 19, 1997. Memories of the shooting are still raw for residents of the North Country town. “We don’t talk about it. Never talk about it,” Linda Tillotson, of Colebrook, said. “It was too painful a memory.” New Hampshire State Troopers Scott Phillips and Leslie Lord, Judge Vickie Bunnel, and editor Dennis Joos were killed on August 19, 1997. Drega’s rampage began after Phillips stopped him in the parking lot of an IGA. “Scott comes out of his cruiser and Drega brandishes an assault rifle and opens fire on Scott,” said retired state police Lt. Chuck West. West and retired State Police Sgt. Tom Yorke was among those who responded to the shooting. “Meanwhile, Les Lord pulls up right at the entrance to the parking lot,” West said. “At one point Drega advanced on him.” Drega stole Phillips’ cruiser and drove to Bunnell’s office, which was in the same building as Colebrook News and Sentinel. She saw Drega coming and warned the others, but was shot as she ran. “Dennis Joos very heroically tried to intervene,” West said. “He grabbed Drega, got into a physical altercation and was then shot and killed on the lawn.” Drega fled, stopping to set his house on fire. He drove through Vermont and shot Fish and Game Officer Wayne Saunders, who was pursuing him. A bullet fired by Drega went through Saunders’ windshield, but he was saved when the bullet hit his badge. (State Trooper) Jeff Caulder was shot,” West said. An officer who ran to save Caulder was also shot and wounded. After attempting to get the two injured officers to safety, West and another officer moved forward and spotted Drega taking aim at them from behind a tree.”So we fired before him, and it was over,” West said in the center of town.Beneath the victims’ names is the inscription “Their deeds are their memorials.” “Judge was a dear friend of ours, my husband and I, and Dennis Joos, he was a handsome man,” Tillotson said. “He was truly a sweet, handsome man.” Phillips said left behind a young family.”He was a perfect fit for the North Country,” Yorke said. “He was a very nice person. He did a very good job. “Lord, who was close to retirement, was Yorke’s brother-in-law. “Leslie, his nickname was Lucky, he was a carefree person. “, Yorke said. Route 3 in and out of town is named for the soldiers. “It was a knife that cut very deep, and it’s just something that doesn’t don’t leave,” Yorke said.

A memorial service was held in Colebrook on Friday to remember the victims of a shooting 25 years ago.

A marker is in Monument Park next to the News and Sentinel building where two of the victims died.

Two New Hampshire state troopers, a judge and an editor were killed after a man went on a rampage.

Carl Drega killed four people and injured four others in Colebrook on August 19, 1997.

Memories of the shooting are still raw for residents of the North Country town.

“We don’t talk about it. Never talk about it,” Linda Tillotson, of Colebrook, said. “It was too painful a memory.”

New Hampshire State Troopers Scott Phillips and Leslie Lord, Judge Vickie Bunnel, and editor Dennis Joos were killed on August 19, 1997. Drega’s rampage began after Phillips stopped him in the parking lot of an IGA.

“Scott comes out of his cruiser, and Drega brandishes an assault rifle and opens fire on Scott,” said retired state police Lt. Chuck West.

Western State Police Sgt. and retired. Tom Yorke was among those who responded to the shooting.

“Meanwhile, Les Lord pulls up right at the entrance to the parking lot,” West said. “At one point Drega advanced on him.”

Drega stole Phillips’ cruiser and drove to Bunnell’s office, which was in the same building as Colebrook News and Sentinel. She saw Drega coming and warned the others, but was shot and killed as she ran.

“Dennis Joos very heroically tried to intervene,” West said. “He grabbed Drega, got into a physical altercation and was then fatally shot on the lawn.”

Drega fled, stopping to set his house on fire. He drove through Vermont and shot Fish and Game Officer Wayne Saunders, who was pursuing him. A bullet fired by Drega went through Saunders’ windshield, but he was saved when the bullet hit his badge.

Drega took a logging road and hid in the woods, where he ambushed officers, including West, as they headed inland.

“That’s when (State Trooper) Jeff Caulder was shot,” West said.

An officer who ran to rescue Caulder was also shot and wounded. After attempting to get the two injured officers to safety, West and another officer moved forward and spotted Drega taking aim at them from behind a tree.

“So we shot before him, and it was over,” West said.

A memorial to the victims stands in the center of town. Below the names of the victims is the inscription “Their deeds are their memorials”.

“Judge was a dear friend to us, my husband and I, and Dennis Joos, he was a handsome man,” Tillotson said. “He really was a sweet, handsome man.”

Phillips left behind a young family.

“He was perfect for the North Country,” Yorke said. “He was a very nice person. He did a very good job.”

Lord, who was near retirement, was Yorke’s brother-in-law.

“Leslie, his nickname was Lucky, he was a carefree person,” Yorke said.

Route 3 entering and leaving the city is named in honor of the soldiers.

“It was a knife that cut really deep, and it’s just something that doesn’t go away,” Yorke said.


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