NEW YORK — An off-duty federal law enforcement agent killed during a pharmacy holdup Saturday was picking up his elderly father's cancer medication when he was shot, according to New York Congressman Peter King.
Veteran agent John Capano had chased down the suspect,43-year-old James McGoey, inside the store and was wrestling with him on the ground when shots were fired, King said. An off-duty NYPD officer and a retired Nassau County police officer at a deli next door intervened during the struggle.
The 51-year-old Capano and McGoey, who police said was trying to leave with money and painkillers, were shot to death. It's not clear who shot either man, police said.
The congressman, who has known the Capano family for decades, said they are traumatized. Capano's mother died of breast cancer two weeks ago, he said.
Police said the gunman entered the pharmacy in Seaford, N.Y., about 2 p.m., looking for painkillers and money, and announced a holdup. That's when Capano intervened.
The off-duty police officer and the retired officer were taken to a hospital to be treated for trauma.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) said Capano was a 23-year veteran of the agency who was an explosives expert who taught U.S. military and local forces in Afghanistan and Iraq how to investigate blasts.
"He was a veteran agent who did his job well," said Rory O'Connor, assistant special agent in charge in the ATF's New York office. "Even though off-duty, he felt the need to take action in an attempt to protect the public."
Capano lived in Massapequa and was married with two children.
The area has been struggling with a growing tide of prescription drug abuse, said Razov Felice, owner of an Italian restaurant down the street.
"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."
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.
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.
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