Off-Duty ATF Officer Among The Dead In LI Pharmacy Shooting

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — An off-duty federal law enforcement agent responding to an armed robbery at a pharmacy on Long Island was fatally shot along with the heist suspect, who had taken money and painkillers from the store before he was killed Saturday.

The off-duty Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agent died after being taken to a hospital with a gunshot wound, Nassau County police Lt. Kevin Smith said.

1010 WINS Reporter Glenn Schuck reports

The ATF identified the fallen agent as 51-year-old John Capano, a 23-year veteran of the agency, who lived in Massapequa and was married with two children. Rory O’Connor, assistant special agent in charge in the ATF’s New York office, said Capano was a customer at the pharmacy when he chose to intervene in the robbery and apprehend the suspect.

“During the course of the struggle, John was shot,” O’Connor said.

He described Capano as a “very dedicated, aggressive agent” who, as a trained explosives expert, taught U.S. military and local forces in Afghanistan and Iraq how to do blast investigations.”

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 from a known robber.”

James Capano, 82, told CBS 2’s Derricke Dennis that his son was going to get him medicine.

“Yeah, I was going to go down, but he said ‘I’m, going down so I’ll get it’,” he said.

“He was good, he was very good at what he did. He was always helping somebody. Never walked away from anything,” Capano added.

Nassau County police said the unidentified man entered the pharmacy in Seaford and announced an armed robbery at about 2 p.m., looking for painkillers and money. Police said that as the man was leaving the store, he was confronted by three individuals; the ATF agent, an off-duty city police officer and a retired Nassau County police officer.

Shots rang out, and the suspect was struck, the painkillers and cash dropping to the ground, Smith said. The ATF agent also was wounded. Smith said it was not immediately clear who shot the ATF agent, or how or why the off-duty officer and retired officer arrived at the location at about the same time.

Police declined to say what kind of weapon the robbery suspect was carrying.

Capano was taken to Nassau County Medical Center in East Meadow, where he died. The NYPD officer and retired police officer also were taken to the hospital to be treated for trauma.

“He was the main snowblower on the block. He took care of all of the old people,” neighbor Scott Parlatore said.

“The world really lost out when somebody good like that dies. They really did,” neighbor Vivian Lagrutta cried.

Police closed off the sidewalk with tape and covered the body with a white sheet while they investigated, said Razov Felice, owner of an Italian restaurant located down the street. Felice said the area has been struggling with a growing tide of prescription drug abuse.

“There is a lot of problem in Long Island with these drugs,” Felice said. “I don’t know what people are thinking. The more people talk about these drugs, the more people are trying them.”

“For a guy who survived the ATF, survived Iraq, to die on New Year’s Eve is terrible,” said Rep. Peter King.

The shooting occurred about 30 miles west of another Long Island pharmacy where four people were gunned down by a drug addict during a robbery in June on Father’s Day.

There have been a number of incidents in which New York-area police have fired at off-duty officers who were responding to a crime.

In March, an off-duty Metropolitan Transportation Authority police authority officer shot a Nassau County police officer who was in plainclothes and carrying a rifle.

Both men were responding to a crime scene in the town of Massapequa Park. In May, a New York Police Department officer shot and killed an off-duty colleague who was carrying a gun while chasing a suspected car thief in East Harlem. In 2008, Westchester County police officers killed an off-duty officer from Mount Vernon, N.Y. as he was intervening in a fight.

What can be done to stem the growing problem of prescription drug abuse? Leave your thoughts in our comments section below…

(TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

  • Catherine McEntee

    Why are doctors writing out these prescriptions for these drugs as if they were prescribing candy insteady of a powerful, addictive drug. Pharmaceuticals are probably pushing these drugs and makiing huge profits while good people are paying with their lives when low-lifes get addicted!
    Where is the accountability?

  • Tommy C

    The pharmacutical companies are flooding the market with these pills all in the name of profits . You can go to any so-called pain management clinic and get scipts for this crap for a so-called back-ache. Their as addictive as heroin and just as deady. Years ago people robbed banks now it drug stores . Half of all cmmercials on TV are for drugs . C’mon America wake up and fight the pharmacutical cos. motto we have a pill for that mentality.

  • Bullett

    My condolences to the family of ATF officer John Capano. He died protecting the innocent.

  • Robert Moses

    This is undeniable proof that New York City is deliberately and illegally exporting its crime to the suburbs.

    Everybody knows that REAL Americans live in suburbs, and therefore CRIME BELONGS IN CITIES. Mike Bloomberg owes us big time for imposing NYC’s crime on us.

    • Frank from Glendale

      Too funny!

  • blind dumb

    Another cop on cop shooting on long island. What is going on? middle aged off duty cops shooting each other again in the middle of main street in broad daylight, maybe the tough guys should leave the guns home and take the geritol instead.

  • Jerry

    Brave,however careless apprehension tactics as those involved, from different arms of the law were not accustomed to working together.

    Easy to second guess here.

    So sad for the family of the ATF officer……… sadder yet for the cop who killed him, if friendly fire was the reason?
    He has to live with it forever, no doubt too be sued by the family adding to his woes?
    Such a cruel world?

  • Raymond Leslie

    They used to rob banks, now they rob pharmacy”s.

  • Larry Schwarz

    Pharmacy robberys of pain pills has been a problem here in Salt Lake City for many years.Usually they turn over the drugs and the punks are usually caught by Police.I can not recall an incident where an innocent person has been hurt in one of these robberys,yet there was one where the pharmacist chased the robber out with a golf club and hit him a few times before Police arrived.The answer is to comply if you have a gun pointed at you.Stopping it,hire armed professional security (off duty police).Have placebos on hand to give to the robbers.I would say placebos filled with arsenic but that would probably cause the pharmacist to face charges.They need to come up with a way to stop these.Officials don’t get paid the big bucks for nothing.Earn your pay,use your noodle,come up with a plan.Ask Salt Lake City Police for help.They will help you but do it before someone else gets killed.

  • xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

    First it was wife swapping on Long Island now everyone is walking around stoned on prescription drugs

  • Junny R

    Tragic lost for the men and Women in Blue- My heart goes out- But on another note It is Incredible that NYS Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement- The only Investigators with Arrest power and Armed were about to be terminated by the Cuomo Administration and Dr. Shah The Commissioner of NYS Health- As far as Doctors any MD, PA, Midwife, can prescribe Pain Killers-

  • Frank from Glendale

    This is horrible, whether or not “friendly-fire” caused the death of the ATF officer. The larger problem is the epidemic of prescription pill addiction and access to pills. Would a more effective registration system, if used by physicians and pharmacists, help control the flow of pills?

    A different issue: the headline for the on-line artcile talks about the ATF officer being “among” the dead in the shooting. “Among” indicates a group of MORE THAN two. A better headline:” ATF officer and thief killed…”

  • Jay Pee

    This ATF man and his fellow officers are heroes. These pain killers Oxycontin etc. should be taken off the market. Some doctors give them out like candy.
    Pain mgmt docs are the worst.

    If you ever had to live with a drug addict you would know.

    I am glad The Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and other politicians are doing something about it.

    There is NO HOPE IN DOPE

  • Enough

    The worst crime in Nassau ever was putting Ed “Deer in the headlights” Mangano in office.He reminds me of Tariq Azziz who reported the war in Baghdad was being won by Iraqi forces as US forces were driving tanks down his block. Ed please step aside as you are unquailified to run anything requiring minimal intelligence.You are the first politician to make George W look good.

    • Mike

      Well I don’t know – Obama, Reid, Pelosi, Wiener, McCarthy – compared to them Bush is a Saint.

      • Enough

        Thats true Jan 2001 – Jan 2009 went so well what was I thinking

        • LiberalsRDopes

          You’re not thinking.That’s why you’rea liberal…

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