Nanos Handling Of Chief of Staff Death Raising Questions For Pima County Public

Pima County Sheriff Chris Nanos [Photo from Youtube]

Today, Pima County Sheriff’s Department Chief of Staff Bradley Gagnepain will be laid to rest, but questions surrounding his death will not. In fact, since his death on Sunday night, questions are all anyone has due to the fact that the Pima County Sheriff’s Office (PCSO) will not respond to questions by the public or the press.

What is known is that for the first time in PCSO’s history, personnel and resources will be expended for a lavish memorial service for an officer who committed suicide while off duty. Chief Gagnepain reportedly committed suicide at a neighbor’s home on Father’s Day.

According to sources, an honor guard of 10 PCSO personnel, being paid time-and-a-half, will man the memorial services.

Chief Gagnepain’s death came at a time when PCSO personnel are under increasing pressure due to an FBI investigation into illegal use of funds, among other matters.

It was the investigation into Gagnepain’s death however that is generating questions. Sources report that rather than turn the investigation over to another agency, Sheriff Nanos insisted that the unusual death be handled by PCSO. Both Nanos, and his right-hand-man, Chris Radtke, prevented investigators from reviewing items of interest including one cellphone controlled by Chief Gagnepain, and papers in a manila envelope on a front seat of his vehicle. Sources also report that the crime scene logs cannot be found.

On Friday, Sergeant Terry Staten, who was recruited by PCSO deputies to challenge Nanos in the upcoming election, appeared on the James T. Harris radio show (KQTH 104.1 FM) in response to the swirling controversy. Harris said he had invited Staten on the show in an effort to help the public understand how the matter should have been appropriately handled.

Staten, a long-time veteran of the force, told Harris, “I hear some of the same rumors that you have probably heard as far as Sheriff Nanos showing up on scene, and Deputy Chief Radtke showing up on scene. These things concern me.” Staten paused and proceeded with emphasis, “I feel bad for the family of Mr. Gagnepain. A suicide has a significant mental and emotional impact on families, and friends. This is not a good thing for them to be going through, but the fact is; you have three people that are under investigation by the FBI. One decides to take his own life – not in his own house – and you have the other named in the allegations showing up on scene and controlling the entire scene rather than being there for the family. And then not turning the scene over to another agency to investigate.”

According to experts, had Gagnepain’s death occurred in his own home, the matter could have been immediately investigated as a suicide. However, since it occurred in a neighbor’s garage, it should have been initially investigated as a homicide.

Harris told Staten that he had heard that the crime scene logs did not reflect the presence of Nanos and Radtke. Staten said that he could not confirm those rumors, but had heard them as well.

Staten said, “All I’ve been told is obviously from other people who have seen and heard things that took place that day. I have been cut from the heard,” said Staten referring to the fact he has been placed on administrative leave by Nanos in retaliation for his decision to challenge him in the election.

Unlike Nanos, who enjoys the support of a handful in PCSO leadership, Staten has the support of the deputies. In fact, the deputies’ union has endorsed Staten, leading to Nanos’ apparent bitterness.

“These are very serious things that we are hearing. This just sounds very, very bad,” Harris stated. “How come other agencies are not being invited in to investigate? Will other agencies eventually be brought in to investigate?” Staten replied, “I don’t know. I think it’s probably too late now.”

Staten explained that he was unaware if PCSO had maintained the scene and evidence. “Maybe they still have the evidence – maybe they don’t. I don’t know. I don’t know the circumstances as to why, and these are the questions that a lot of people are asking me. Just like you just asked me; why was there not another agency brought into this? I have no idea, but if the general public is asking me that same question then maybe someone else should ask them those questions.”

Efforts by the ADI to secure copies of investigation reports have been unsuccessful.

“When I would become Sheriff, and hopefully this will never happen while I’m Sheriff, but immediately it would be sealed off,” said Staten referring to the scene. “And another agency invited in to do the investigation for us. It has to look – it has to be one of those investigations that we stay neutral – out of it – and let the other agencies investigate.”

“I am not saying there was anything there to find,” said Staten adamantly, “but those questions can never be answered now.”

“I have questions, and the general public has questions,” said Staten. “Not only do I, but I’m sure a lot of people, who are in this Department, have the same questions.”

Those questions are 1) why was the investigation handled the way it was handled, 2) why did the Sheriff and Chief Deputy have to come in and control of the scene, and 3) why was the investigation not handed over immediately to another agency?

As the ADI reported on Monday, in an email to employees on Monday, Nanos wrote, “We lost one of the great leaders and visionaries in our department’s history. Brad Gagnepain was a behind the scenes leader, the man behind the curtain, who had his fingerprints on so many of the successful programs and events in our department. Although, as a true leader, he took credit for none.”

Services will be held today Saturday, June 25th at 10am, Tucson Hilton East 7600 E. Broadway. The public is welcome to attend.

To hear the interview click here.

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  1. So lets say Nonos is out of office, How long will they still be able to bring charges for some of the things done by him. Like removing evidence in an investigation.

  2. Surprised – Forget the Nixon coverups – what we’re seeing in the Clinton Criminal Organization, right now, is good modeling for the Tucson Police Department.


  4. For those who do know who Waldon Burr was. He was a sheriff that was arrested many years ago for illegal dealings. Another Nanos misbehavior.

  5. Knowing that he, Gagnepain, and others were under investigation by the FBI Nanos abiding by his declaration of transparency should have had no contact with the investigation and should have, at the very least, offered the FBI the opportunity to shadow the investigation.

    There is no excuse for restricting the investigators from interviews or the examination of Gagnepain’s computer, cell phones, and papers to determine if this was a suicide or a criminal act.

    Any arguement that a search of those items could compromise ongoing investigations as these materials would be examined and evaluated by trusted law enforcement officers.

    Shades of the Nixon re-election campaign?

  6. Heavy questions need answers from Nanos and Radtke under FBI investigation for corruption with Gagnepain committing suicide in a neighbor’s garage (?) by allegedly shooting himself. Who witnessed the act? Why was the matter treated as a suicide, not a homicide? Our condolences to his wife and family.

  7. This looks real fishy. Almost like an Italian Mafia movie. Oh wait isn’t Nanos an Italian? Or is he Sicilian decent?

  8. you don’t need a civilian review board, the voters of Pima County need to pull their heads out of their butts. The Sheriff is an elected position and the voters are directly responsible for Dupnick (for decades)and the corrupt command staff he appointed. you get the government you deserve. stop voting for Ds and Rs.

  9. you don’t need an independent review board, the sheriff is an elected position. You need the voters of this county pull their head out of their butts. The problems started with Dupnick and he appointed the current command staff and Nanos. the people get the government they deserve

  10. Not all the commanders are bad. Its a shame the ones in charge are tainting the department with their actions.
    The promotion process is a sham. The sheriff’s chauffeur…lol. How he got promoted, just be loyal to the regime and they’ll take care of you.
    The troops see this and have lost confidence and trust in most of those in charge.

  11. This sounds more and more like the movie “walking Tall” and the corruption he was dealing with, I for one Cant wait until election time.

  12. Mr Holden,

    It’s another anonymous keyboard warrior conspiracy theorist with erroneous allegations

    Do you have any evidence, witness or fact to anything you’ve posted today?

    • Did you read the story? As a supervisor in the Pima County Sheriff’s office you certainly can’t believe that investigation was done properly?

      And because it was screwed up by The Sheriff and the victim was under FBI investigation it certainly leads one to believe something illegal or unethical is happening in the highest reaches of the Sheriff’s Command staff.

      The evidence is coming from detectives who claim the Sheriff will not let them view evidence needed to clear this death. I’m all for supporting your organization and profession, but being willfully blind is beyond the call of duty.

  13. Also, the command staff has recruited a Sgt to run against the existing Union head. Radtke had tried to get another Sgt to fo the same in the past year. They use the excuse of the need to communicate with the Union. It is more like controlling the Union. The last Union head delivered an endorsement for Dupnik and was rewarded LT bars. Just so happens he is Nanos personal chauffeur now. When ever the anointed one decides to mix with the masses, he calls him. Radtke does the same.

  14. How about the fact Nanos and Radtke would not let detectives interview Gagnepain’s wife? She would be the first person a day one rookie would want to interview. Another tidbit, whenever Nanos goes anywhere, a Lieutenant drives him around. This started when he first crawled out from under what ever rock he was under when Brad decided he should replace the Duper…indict them already!!!

  15. Just out of curosity when was the last time Nanos or Radtke showed up at a “crime scene” much less took charge and “investigated”.

    This one belongs as an episode on Firstn 48 Hours or Forensic Files. Where is Barney Fife when you need him.

    It is sad to see our community under the control of this type of law enforcement. I always wondered why Nanos took a 40% pay cut to become Sheriff. Could someone explain that to me ?

  16. This is why we (Arizona )needs an Independent Law Enforcement Review Board, They would be responsible for investigating Crimes by Law Enforcement and the entire Law Enforcement community as well. As far as I am concerned Nanos should have been required by law to have turned this investigation over to DPS.

  17. I understand that the sheriff it the chief law enforcement officer in the county. However, the three people that were under investigation by the FBI just happened to run the agency. Just saying if it was me, and I was under investigation I might have been at the scene, but I would have ordered it sealed off and asked TPD, OVPD or the DPS to investigate so I would remove all doubt that I had an ulterior motive for allowing PCSO to investigate. It appears to me that they wanted to visit the scene and see if anything incriminating had been left out and if so perhaps it would disappear. This is what happens when investigations are ongoing. Stuff has a tendency to disappear. And the other issue becomes what is there to hide with all the brass on the scene. We will never know because the ADS will never ask those questions because they are complicit with the county and its administrator. And lastly, if I was the county administrator, I would have had a meeting with Nanos and suspended him for being a dumbass and handling the investigation like he did. Seems to me that Nanos isn’t very smart. Can’t find money in the budget for raises, can’t turn over a critical investigation to an outside agency and uses his office for personal gain witness the suspension of Staten. He fits right in the mold of corrupt Pima County elected employees. I guess if he wasn’t all of these things, Huckelberry wouldn’t have appointed him anyway. He wants a lapdog, not an independent thinker.

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