ATF Marks 7 Years Since Agent Was Killed Trying to Stop Robber

For members of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, New Year's Eve hits a somber note: it has been seven years since Special Agent John Capano was killed while trying to stop a robber on Long Island. 

The 51-year-old Capano was picking up medication for his cancer-stricken father from a pharmacy in Seaford on Long Island on Dec. 31, 2011, when the store was held up at gunpoint.

Capano, a husband and father to two daughters, intervened to stop the robber and was killed in a friendly-fire shootout when two other law enforcement officers -- an off-duty NYPD officer and a retired Nassau police lieutenant -- also jumped in with their weapons.

Capano was posthumously awarded the Medal of Valor by President Barack Obama for his efforts that New Year’s Eve.

ATF officials in New York said they continue to remember his “courage, honor and selflessness.”

“John Capano made the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty protecting his community. Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with his family, and all those who served with him at ATF,” said Ashan Benedict, AT Special Agent In Charge NY Field Office.

No criminal charges were filed in the friendly-fire shootout that killed Capano. Nassau prosecutors said the two officers were justified when they used deadly force.

Capano was an explosives expert who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. As an ATF senior special agent, Capano traveled the world, from Afghanistan to Iraq, Peru to Paraguay, sharing his expertise investigating the aftermath of bombings.

He was the first ATF agent to be killed by gunfire in the line of duty since the infamous raid on a religious cult compound in Waco, Texas, in 1993.

Capano grew up in Seaford and lived in nearby Massapequa. 

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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