Pharmacy robber, federal agent shot dead in NY

Pharmacy robber, federal agent shot dead in NY

NEW YORK (AP) – An off-duty federal law enforcement agent who happened to be in a pharmacy during a holdup confronted the robber as he tried to leave with money and painkillers, and both were shot to death.

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

Police said the gunman entered the pharmacy in Seaford about 2 p.m., looking for painkillers and money, and announced a holdup. As he tried to leave with what he came for, three people confronted him: the ATF agent, an off-duty city police officer and a retired police officer.

It wasn’t clear what happened next or who shot either man. The off-duty police officer and the retired officer were taken to a hospital to be treated for trauma.

The agent, identified by the ATF as 51-year-old John Capano, a 23-year veteran of the agency, was a trained explosives expert 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.”

Full Story Here:
Pharmacy robber, federal agent shot dead in NY

First and foremost, I want to express my sympathies to the family of BATF Agent John Capano on the loss of a husband and father. It appears that he went down doing the job he was intended to do, and served this nation well. My most sincere condolences.

Now I have to wonder about the *details* of this shooting and death of John Capano, and the fact that there was an off-duty city police officer and a retired police officer on the scene along with Capano. That’s a lot of Law Enforcement experience that just happened to be in one place at a crucial moment in time, and I have to wonder how that coincidence came to be?

I am not about to even remotely assign ANY blame to the officers, but I do indeed wonder if the off duty officer and the retired officer were armed, you see, the state of New York has some of the most prohibitive gun laws in the nation. New York City is even more of a pain where guns are concerned, but we all know, gun laws only apply to citizens that want to carry a gun legally, and for legitimate purposes.

For those not familiar, this incident happened on Long Island, in the town of Seaford.

Possession – Handguns

A license is needed to possess a handgun in one’s home or place of business. Application is made to the licensing officer of the city or county where the applicant resides, is principally employed, or where his principal place of business as a merchant or storekeeper is located. An alien may obtain a pistol license if he or she meets these requirements. The determination whether to grant the license is completely within the discretion of the licensing officer. However, the licensing officer must state specifically and concisely in writing the reasons for a denial. A denial can only be overturned in court if the denial is shown to be arbitrary and capricious. SOURCE

Those laws are for New York state in general, but know this, New York City considers itself to be a whole different world where guns are concerned.

I have been told, by a person with 1st hand knowledge, even a New York State Trooper doesn’t have a right to carry off duty in NYC. I don’t know how, or IF this even applies to Long Island or the state of New York as a whole or to Seaford in particular, all I know is that an HONEST citizen doesn’t have a chance in the state of New York, and the bad guys don’t care about the law anyway.

I am certain of this, a FEDERAL officer is not impeded by the ridiculous gun laws of the state of New York, a Federal officer or agent can carry at all times, and is, by rule of most agencies, expected to carry at all times.

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, 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.

His death is the latest in a string of shootings of off-duty officers in the New York area who were responding to a crime.

Off duty officers are expected to become involved in stopping a felony act in progress, but make NO mistake, an off duty officer, or an officer working in *plain clothes* faces a set of circumstances that a uniformed officer doesn’t face.

The stats contained in these next few paragraphs give me some serious concern.

In May, a New York Police Department officer shot to death an off-duty colleague who was carrying a gun while chasing a suspected car thief in East Harlem.

In March, an off-duty transit authority officer shot a Nassau County police officer who was in plainclothes and carrying a rifle while both men were responding to a crime in the town of Massapequa Park.

And in 2008, Westchester County police officers killed an off-duty officer from suburban Mount Vernon while he intervened in a fight.

It is very easy for uniformed officers to mistake an off duty or plain clothes officer for a bad guy in a heated confrontation. Maybe they don’t see a badge, maybe in the heat of the moment the officer in plain clothes hasn’t had time to present a badge, any number of sad and dangerous circumstances can happen.

I have a close friend that is an officer and he was involved in a shooting incident a while back in a narcotics arrest that went SOUTH.

The druggie decided he was going to rob what HE thought was another druggie, the only catch was, the guy he was going to rob is a sworn officer, and in an act of desperation, and in an exhibition of what intense training and skill can do, my friend fell to the left as he drew a concealed .357 and fired ONE SHOT, upside down and backwards, and the shot forever ended the career of a bad guy.

Happy ending … right? Not so much maybe.

If I didn’t KNOW that my friend is what he is, I wouldn’t *make* him for a cop, and I am dammed good at spotting cops. You see, the way he dresses, the vehicle he drives, his hair, his beard, his mannerisms and his on-duty persona make him look like the guy you’d want to question if he were in the area of a crime.

Long story short, my friend calls for backup, shots fired, officer involved, all that stuff, and as the marked units are rolling up he’s jumping up and down, waving his badge and ID, yelling *I’M A COP, I’M A COP!!!”, no point in having some over-zealous uniform ruin your day for you.

Being an officer of the law is NEVER an easy job, it is always fraught with danger, but for an off duty officer that has to get involved in a felony arrest, or a detective, undercover or plain clothes officer, the dangers are greatly multiplied in shooting situations.

I sincerely hope there were no mistakes made in this one, I will try to follow up IF and when more information becomes available.

Additional Reading:
NYPD Shooting Revives Debate Over Force
3 NYPD detectives acquitted in 50-shot killing

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10 Responses to Pharmacy robber, federal agent shot dead in NY

  1. James Shott says:

    Some day maybe people will come to understand the simple fact that the more law abiding citizens who are trained and armed, the fewer crimes will be committed.

    The old saying about the Old West being an exceedingly polite place because of the number of people carrying still holds true.

  2. mrchuck says:

    Presented excellent and all facts are valid.

    Never liked NYC.

    Hard to watch your “6” with so many people who look and act like hoods.

    • TexasFred says:

      I never liked NYC either, Long Island was OK, upstate is a great place to visit, but I am NOT gonna live there…

      New York gun laws SUCK…

  3. TexasFred says:

    I hate to be premature on this, but some things are just not looking good if the NYT is to be believed…

    A Routine Errand to Drugstore Turns Deadly –

    For some strange reason, New York cops have been known to expend a HUGE number of rounds with very few actual HITS on their intended target, I just hope that gnawing feeling I have regarding this is not coming to fruition… 🙁

  4. BobF says:

    I’m originally from NY State and my family lives back there. NY gun laws are a nightmare. To get your initial permit to purchase a handgun, it will take a person at least six months minimum. You’ll need to attend training classes and have three references of high character to verify your character. It took my nephew, who is in law enforcement, and cousin, who is retired military with a security clearance, six months to get their permits. Once you get the permit, you wouldn’t believe the hoops you have to jump through to purchase your handgun: Also, no handgun can hold more than 10 round magazines; high capacity magazines are illegal to possess in NY.

    There are cases where airline passengers are traversing through either JFK or LaGuardia airports in NY City with legally checked handguns in their baggage. The flights are cancelled and the baggage given to the passengers. Port Authority police know of the checked handguns and when the passengers retrieve their baggage, they’re arrested for possession of illegal handguns.

    NY’s gun laws are one of the main reasons I didn’t go back there when I retired from the military.

    A woman from Tennessee with a CCW tried to do the right thing in NY City and was arrested:

    You want to get me going, take about NY and their stupid #$*&@ gun laws.

    • TexasFred says:

      The woman from Tenn should have KNOWN better, New York is an ASSHOLE about ALL guns, no matter who you are or what permit or commission you carry…

      I had NO sympathy for her, or anyone else that goes to NY and thinks they are exempt… Ya pays your money and ya takes your chances, go to NY armed and hope for the best, and keep your mouth shut, there is NO *doing the right thing* up there…

      • BobF says:

        Exactly Fred. When you travel with a firearm, you HAVE to know the laws of any state you pass through. There is no doing the right thing in NY when it comes to handguns and unfortunately, she learned the hard way.

  5. I never worked undercover and never wanted to, for those very same reasons. It’s bad enough working uniform. I worked last night and listened to gunfire all around at midnight. Someone shot at and hit the fender of the unit of one of my troops. Never found the dude.

    In Fornicalia, it’s not quite as bad but it’s getting there. After midnight, you can’t order ammunition in Fornicalia over the internet.

    God bless our federal government, eh?

    I too read the story about the Tennessee woman and her voluntarily asking where to put her weapon. Terribly sad but, please, you had NO idea about the nature of New York City??


  6. NativeSon says:

    Wow Fred! Great article! One learns a little more about officers and what they put up with daily–as for those guys who work undercover/plain clothes stay EXTRA safe! (I had no idea). And all of you LEOs have a SAFE and Healthy New Year! 🙂

  7. TexasFred says:

    I absolutely detest the term *friendly fire*, I can’t help but think that *over-zealous, had my head up my ass and didn’t clearly identify my target* may be a lot more appropriate!

    Surveillance footage from the pharmacy shows that along with other customers, Agent Capano, 51, had initially put his hands above his head, as the robber, who appeared to be armed with a gun, took cash and hundreds of pills or capsules of the painkillers oxycodone and Opana, according to a person familiar with the investigation.

    As the suspect, whom the police identified as James McGoey, 43, began to walk away, Agent Capano trailed after him down a parallel aisle. Near the door, Agent Capano shot Mr. McGoey once, striking him in the leg or hip, the person said.

    As the two men spilled outside, two more men arrived: an off-duty officer of the New York Police Department and a recently retired Nassau County police lieutenant. Both had been in a nearby deli, and one or both were armed, according to the person and another official, both of whom spoke on the condition of anonymity because the inquiry was continuing.

    More shots were fired in the seconds that followed, and details of precisely what occurred remained murky a day later.

    Yet at one point, Mr. McGoey, who lived in Hampton Bays, N.Y., tried to reach for a gun on the ground, the first official said. The off-duty city police officer fired at Mr. McGoey, hitting him two or three times, the official added. It was not immediately clear how many shots the retired police lieutenant fired, if any.

    “There are two or three seconds they haven’t accounted for, when the fatal shots were fired,” the official said.

    But at the end of the shooting, Mr. McGoey was dead and Agent Capano was mortally wounded. He was pronounced dead at Nassau University Medical Center.

    The first official said Nassau County investigators were considering the possibility that Agent Capano was killed by one of the other officers.

    Should investigators conclude that the fatal bullet or bullets were fired by the off-duty New York City officer or the retired Nassau lieutenant, it would underscore a peculiar danger that law enforcement officers in Nassau County and some other New York suburbs face: the ubiquity of other officers — on duty, off-duty and retired — who often converge at the scenes of emergencies, raising the possibility that an officer might be mistaken for a criminal.

    Just a few minutes’ drive from the pharmacy, a plainclothes Nassau County police officer, Geoffrey J. Breitkopf, was fatally shot in March by a Metropolitan Transportation Authority officer, Glenn Gentile. By the time both men had arrived at the scene, a house in Massapequa Park, the danger was supposed to have been over: minutes earlier, other officers had fatally shot a young man who had threatened the police and a civilian with knives.

    It is believed that a retired New York police sergeant had yelled “gun” on seeing Officer Breitkopf’s rifle, moments before Officer Gentile opened fire.

    A Routine Errand to Drugstore Turns Deadly

    There is more from the NYT at the link above.

    I have the greatest respect for LEOs, but there is far too much documented information about New York officers that fire a lot of rounds with NO definitive target acquired.

    One thing that also concerns me is WHY did Capano shoot the guy in the leg or hip? 2, maybe 3 rounds, center mass, and there’s NO misunderstanding, get a badge showing, have the *bad guy* hauled away and then go on with your business…

    For those that read here that are of the *bleeding heart* and *I HATE COPS* persuasion, the “why didn’t you shoot to wound him?” or “couldn’t you have fired a warning shot?” argument is as stupid as YOU are…

    A warning shot? Shoot the 1st SOB through the door and let that be a warning to the rest of ’em…

    Shoot to wound? You bet, head wounds, chest wounds … KILL SHOTS….

    Yeah, I know, I’m just a knuckle dragging neanderthal… 😛

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