Slain ATF agent John Capano touched numerous lives through the years both on a personal and professional level, and what he meant to so many people was evident Friday afternoon when an estimated 5,000 mourners packed the streets of Seaford for his funeral service.
Capano, 51, who served 23 years as an agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, six days ago when he was killed trying to stop an of in Seaford. He was there to pick up cancer medication for his father.
Friday’s funeral mass at in Seaford, where Capano was active in going back to his childhood, was attended by federal agents from around the country, including ATF Chief B. Todd Jones. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder was also in Seaford to pay his final respects to Capano, a Massapequa resident and , who was a member of the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association and the International Association of Bomb Technicians and Investigators.
“I assure you that every member of America’s law enforcement community stands shoulder-to-shoulder with the residents of Seaford, as we mourn one of our own and bid farewell to one of our best,” Holder said in his funeral remarks. “His commitment to protecting the most vulnerable among us, and to ensuring justice for all people will guide us forward and his dream of improving the lives of others will continue to inspire acts of service, of selflessness, and of extraordinary courage.”
Capano’s final act of courage came when he was at Charlie’s Family Pharmacy in the early afternoon hours on New Year’s Eve when James McGoey of Hampton Bays entered the store demanding cash and drugs. Capano proceeded to confront the suspect as he fled out the front door before a retired cop and off-duty police officer also responded to the scene of the armed robbery.
Brian Davis, an attorney for retired Nassau County police Lt. Christopher Geraghty, 54, told the Associated Press that his client shot Capano as he and the suspect struggled for control of a weapon while unsure who was “the bad guy” and is “devastated" by what happened. Geraghty, of Woodbury, had responded to the scene along with off-duty New York City Police Officer Joseph Arbia of Seaford after being alerted about the armed robbery while eating at next door to the pharmacy.
"John was an agent's agent," Jones said of Capano in his funeral remarks. "He was a hero."
Capano’s heralded ATF career included teaching U.S. military and local forces in Afghanistan and Iraq how to investigate blasts. He was assigned to the Bureau of ATF's in Melville.
A has been established for Capano’s two children, , a 2011 Chaminade High School graduate who is freshman at Northeastern University, and Natalie, a student at St. John’s the Baptist in West Islip. Capano is also survived by his wife Dori and father James. His mother Helen died on Dec. 16.
Following Friday’s funeral service for Capano, burial took place at St. Charles Cemetery in East Farmingdale.