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Young Officer Remembered A Year After He Was Killed

by Ellen Cronin

One year ago today came the second of a one-two punch that left many reeling here in the North Country, especially in the law enforcement community.

Locals still were in the process of burying the dead left by Carl Drega's rampage in Colebrook when the peace was shattered again.

This time, a young police officer had been murdered in the central part of the state - an officer who less than 24 hours earlier had attended the funeral of two state troopers in Colebrook.

The two men suspected of killing him were fleeing north. Spotted just below Franconia Notch, they allegedly led police on a harrowing high-speed chase that included gunfire.

The suspects were captured in Bethlehem, just south of the Littleton town line, by a group of local and state police officers. It was a Sunday morning that seemed surreal, made even more so by the media herd that thundered down from Colebrook into Littleton to cover the continuing crime spree.

Now, a year later, Gordon Perry, 23, formerly of Manchester, N.H., sits in a cell at the state prison, facing the prospect of the death penalty if convicted. Authorities believe he is the one who pulled the trigger on Epsom Police Officer Jeremy Charron. Perry tentatively is scheduled for trial next spring.

Still sitting at the Grafton County Jail in North Haverhill is his alleged accomplice, Kevin Paul, now 19, formerly of Concord, N.H. He has been offered a deal on the charges he faces here in Grafton County. In return, he must testify against Perry at the murder trial.

Over the past week have come various memorials for those who died on Aug. 19, 1997: Trooper Leslie Lord, Trooper Scott Philips, Judge Vickie Bunnell, and News & amp;Sentinel Editor Dennis Joos. All were victims of Drega's shooting rampage.

Today in Epsom, ceremonies are scheduled to remember Charron on the first anniversay of his death, an observance at the town's police station is expected to draw law enforcement personnel from around the state.

In some ways, it is difficult to believe a year has passed. Back then, it was a week that seemed like it would never end.

Copyright 1997

The Caledonian-Record

http://www.caledonian-record.com/

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