Retired Officer Struggles Over ATF Friendly Fire Incident

John Capano, on off-duty ATF agent, was killed by a retired Nassau County officer.

By Jonathan Dienst and Melissa Russo
|  Tuesday, Feb 28, 2012  |  Updated 1:30 PM EDT
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The retired Nassau County police officer who fired the fatal shot that killed an ATF agent inside a Seaford pharmacy is speaking out through his lawyer. News 4 New York's Melissa Russo reports.

NBC New York

The retired Nassau County police officer who fired the fatal shot that killed an ATF agent inside a Seaford pharmacy is speaking out through his lawyer. News 4 New York's Melissa Russo reports.

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The retired police lieutenant believed to have shot and killed an ATF agent  in a case of friendly fire is struggling over the tragic incident, his lawyer said Thursday.

“He’s gone through it a thousand times,” said Christopher Geraghty’s attorney, Brian J. Davis.

Davis said his client, formerly of the Nassau County Police Department, opened fire after a shot was fired as the off-duty ATF agent John Capano tussled on the ground with drug and robbery suspect James McGoey outside Charlie’s Pharmacy in Seaford on Saturday.

“Maybe if another second had elapsed, maybe John would have said ‘I’m an agent' or 'I’m a good guy,’” Davis said. “If he had waited another second, there’s always those questions but this was an instantaneous reaction.”

Davis said his client is somewhat relieved the Capano family reached out and said they forgave him. 

Capano and Geraghty, along with an off-duty NYPD officer, all found themselves responding to help after the suspect robbed the pharmacy armed with what looked like a real gun.

Amid the confusion, Geraghty apparently mistook the ATF agent for a criminal when his gun went off amid the fight.

“This was an accident, a very unfortunate accident,” Davis said.

The suspect was also killed.

Meanwhile, Capano’s funeral is set for Friday.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder is expected to attend along with many ATF agents and other law enforcement officials.

A foundation has been created for Capano's family.

Contact information for the fund:

FDAF/Capano Family Fund

c/o the Federal Drug Agents Foundation

380 North Broadway

Jericho, N.Y. 11753

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