NBC New York
John Capano, a veteran ATF agent, lost his life in friendly fire as he tried to stop a robbery at a Long Island drugstore. Now a community mourns his death. Jonathan Dienst reports.
A funeral Mass is scheduled this week for an off-duty federal agent shot to death during a pharmacy holdup on Long Island.
Law-enforcement sources tell NBC New York it appears veteran ATF agent John Capano died Saturday by friendly fire while trying to intervene in the robbery.
Police say that someone ran into a nearby deli and shouted that the drugstore was being robbed. A retired county police lieutenant and an off-duty NYPD officer who were in the deli ran to the pharmacy.
Shots were fired, and Capano and the stickup man, identified Sunday by police as 43-year-old James McGoey of Hampton Bays, were killed.
Sources said Monday it appeared the bullet that killed Catano was fired by the retired Nassau County police officer. Ballistics tests also showed it appeared the off-duty NYPD police officer killed the armed robber.
A funeral will be held Friday for the 51-year-old Capano. He was a 23-year veteran of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives who taught U.S. military and local forces in Afghanistan and Iraq how to investigate blasts, said Rory O'Connor, assistant special agent in charge in the ATF's New York office.
"He was a veteran agent who did his job well," O'Connor said. "Even though off-duty, he felt the need to take action in an attempt to protect the public."
Capano lived in nearby Massapequa and was married with two children.
Armed robberies at pharmacies in the U.S. rose 81 percent between 2006 and 2010, from 380 to 686, according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.
On Father's Day last year, four people were gunned down by a drug addict during a pharmacy robbery about 30 miles west of the one in Seaford where Capano was killed.