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Colebrook, New Hampshire

Colebrook Murder Victims Memorial

Memorial dedicated to four citizens killed during a shooting spree prompted by a routine traffic stop 

The town of Colebrook has a total population of under 2,500 people and is just 10 miles from the Canadian border. In August of 1997, a man named Carl Drega, who was from the nearby town of Bow, was visiting Colebrook when he was pulled over by state police at a supermarket and cited for driving a rusted-through pick-up truck. Drega shot and killed both officers, whose names were Les Lord and Scott Phillips.

Already in deep, Drega decided he might as well keep going, and headed downtown to shoot a judge named Vickie Bunnell whom he’d had a minor grudge against. His final murder victim was local newspaper editor Dennis Joos, who had rushed out on hearing the shots that killed Vickie Bunnell and attempted to wrestle Drega to the ground, getting himself shot in the process.

From there, after shooting and wounding another police officer, Drega took off for his house, burned it to the ground, and then fled to Vermont, where he died in a police shoot-out. On his property were found the remnants of various assault rifles, a large cache of home-made bomb parts, and surveillance equipment.

The violent deaths of these four prominent citizens have been memorialized in a small park just outside the News and Sentinel offices of which Joos had been the editor and near the spot where he was killed. Set prominently in that park is a black stone rectangle with the portraits of all four victims etched into its polished surface. At the bottom of the stone it reads, “Their deeds are their memorials.”

Adapted with Permission from: The New England Grimpendium by J.W. Ocker

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