SEAFORD, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- As friends, family and colleagues of the hero ATF agent killed in the Seaford drug store robbery are preparing to bury him Friday, anguish over the friendly fire incident is growing.
The sign outside the Seaford Deli announcing that the establishment would be closed Friday due to the funeral for Agent John Capano spoke volumes about the pain his death has caused.
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The deli’s devastated owner, a retired police lieutenant, has left town, unable to return to work and grieving for the federal agent he accidentally killed outside the neighboring pharmacy.
Christopher Geraghty’s son, Ryan, described his dad as a physical and emotional wreck. The elder Geraghty was trying to thwart a robbery, but the worst possible scenario played out. He killed the good guy.
“He thought he shot the perpetrator of this thing. This happened within a matter of 5-10 seconds. He didn’t have to learn that it was his bullet, my client knew. His life will never be the same,” Geraghty’s attorney, Brian J. Davis, told CBS 2’s Jennifer McLogan on Thursday.
A security camera captured the pharmacy robbery as cash and hundreds of painkillers were stolen by a career criminal brandishing a pellet gun that appeared to be a .45 caliber.
Investigators said Agent Capano chased suspect James McGoey and shot him in the leg. They then struggled for his gun as the retired lieutenant and a deli customer, an off-duty NYPD officer, were alerted and ran into the scuffle.
“Yelling ‘Police! We’re police! Does he even hear my client shouting ‘who’s the good guy? Who’s the good guy?” when you are in a life and death struggle over a weapon? You have to remember there are five hands on the gun,” Davis said.
It is unclear whether Agent Capano processed the verbal orders, but his gun went off and Geraghty fired back.
It was the second friendly fire shooting death in Nassau County in a year. Some in law enforcement say amid chaos and confusion, even police protocols can’t guarantee safety.
On Thursday, Nassau’s District Attorney Kathleen Rice cleared a Metropolitan Transportation Authority officer involved in the friendly fire shooting death in Massapequa Park that killed an off-duty Nassau cop last March.
The DA’s investigation into Capano’s death is now underway.
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