2012-01-06 / Top Stories

Far Rockaway Cop In Seaford Shooting

By Howard Schwach

Nassau County police sources told The Wave on Tuesday that they believe the federal agent who heroically foiled a Long Island pharmacy robbery was killed by friendly fire from a retired Nassau County police lieutenant and that the would-be robber was shot and killed by an off-duty NYPD officer assigned to the 101 Precinct in Far Rockaway.

The off-duty Rockaway cop was identified by Nassau authorities as Joe Abria.

Sources say that John Capano, 51, an off-duty agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, was picking up cancer medicine for his elderly father when he got caught up in the stickup at Charlie’s Family Pharmacy in Seaford, Long Island, on Saturday. Capano had planned to spend New Year’s Eve with his wife, two children and ailing father after losing his mother to cancer just two weeks ago.

Sources on Monday provided a detailed description of what occurred both inside and outside the pharmacy, an event that left both Capano and the robber dead.

Capano came through the pharmacy’s backdoor just seconds before James McGoey, 43, came through the front door and yelled, “This is a robbery — everybody get your hands up!”

After the shooting event, investigators discovered the realistic-looking black and silver handgun in McGoey’s waistband was a pellet gun.

Officials say that McGoey had just been released from prison in August after serving a decade on robbery charges.

As Capano put his hands in the air, McGoey grabbed cash and prescription drugs and made for the front exit. But Capano crouched down in the next aisle and, hidden from McGoey’s view, followed him, sources said.

When McGoey reached the front door, Capano popped up, yelling, “Police, stop!”

The thief seemed to be going for the gun in his waistband, witnesses told police, when Capano opened fire, shooting McGoey in his leg or hip.

The wounded robber burst through the door and made it several feet before collapsing.

Capano was standing over McGoey trying to subdue him when retired Nassau County police Lt. Chris Garaghty, 54, and off-duty NYPD cop joined the confrontation.

The duo came running from the deli next door, which Garaghty owns, after someone ran there for help.

Guns drawn, the duo yelled, “Police! Freeze!” As the retired lieutenant grabbed Capano and pulled him away from the fallen robber, a gun went off, sources said, blasting Capano.

When the agent fell, his gun still in his hand, the robber reached for Capano’s weapon, sources said.

That move prompted Abria, who lives in Seaford, to fire the shot that investigators believe killed the burglar. McGoey died at the scene.

Capano died at Nassau University Medical Center.

The FBI and ATF are running ballistics tests as part of their investigation into the melee.

The working theory, officials say, is that Garaghty shot Capano.

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