Twenty years after Carl Drega murdered four people in the New Hampshire town of Colebrook, two of whom were state troopers, law enforcement officials from across the town and Vermont prepare to mark the 20th anniversary, Saturday, local reports said. Four other officers were also wounded in that incident Aug. 19, 1997, after which the 67-year-old gunman was killed in a shootout soon after.

People in the town are still hesitant to talk about the shootings. "We don't talk about it. Never talk about it," WMUR.com reported quoting Linda Tillotson, of Colebrook. "It was too painful a memory," she added.

"One thing we try to avoid is talking about Carl Drega," reports said quoting Lt. Gary Prince, commander of Troop F in Twin Mountain, New Hampshire, where the two fallen troopers were based. "What happens is that name is the only name that people know. ... We try to make it about the victims and their families, as opposed to the perpetrator of it."

"Nobody was working here at the time when they were killed, but yet here we are still, keeping their memory alive, so that's important," Prince added.

Troop F will organize a 55-mile relay in New Hampshire from the supermarket where the state troopers were gunned down to the Twin Mountain barracks. 

Participants would take turns to "bring memories of their fallen brothers from the north country back to their barracks." The relay will conclude with an annual flag-raising ceremony that will honor the fallen officers.

On the day of the incident, according to witnesses, Drega began the violence in the afternoon at a supermarket in Colebrook. He shot two New Hampshire troopers, Scott Phillips and Les Lord, who stopped him in the parking lot of a supermarket in neighboring Colebrook. Drega was stopped for having large rust holes in his pickup truck.

Following this, Drega set off in a stolen police cruiser to the office of the local newspaper, the News and Sentinel, which shared its building with an office of a lawyer, Vickie Bunnel, who had angered Drega with a property tax ruling a few years ago, the New York Times had reported at that time. 

Bunnel was so scared of Drega that she carried a handgun and kept her dog with her at the office, the publication reported citing acquaintances. However, she was killed and a senior editor, Dennis Joos, who tried to tackle the gunman, was also killed.

"It's a stumbling block for me, in a way," reports said quoting John Harrigan, of Colebrook, who was the publisher of the News and Sentinel. "I replay the whole thing every now and then in my mind and just wonder why I was not one of the dead. I was supposed to stay in my office in the afternoon and go fishing with Vickie's dad," he added.

Drega was known for having long battles with government officials, starting with a fight over whether he could use tar paper to side his house. Then in 1981, he claimed that 80 feet of the riverbank along his property collapsed because of a rainstorm. He decided to fix it. However, state officials accused him of trying to change the course of the river.