Brief remarks by Acting Director B. Todd Jones at the Funeral Mass for ATF Special Agent John F. Capano

Friday, Jan. 6, 2012

Seaford, New York

I want to thank the attorney general for coming today. I appreciate it and know your kind words are spoken on behalf of the entire Department of Justice family.

Mrs. Capano, John and Natalie, Mr. Capano and the whole Capano family, I bring you the condolences of an entire agency. We grieve this loss with you; and like you, we will hold John's memory in our hearts.

I did not personally have the opportunity to meet John, and I am sorry for that, because I feel like I missed meeting a great man. In the days since his tragic death, I have heard wonderful stories about him and the job he did as a special agent.

John was an agent's agent -- that is the highest compliment within the ATF agent community. He was a compassionate man and always did the next right thing -- being a special agent is one of the hardest jobs, but also one of the most rewarding jobs. For the special agent, the law enforcement officer must be vigilant at all times. It is a way of life and you must have passion, a zeal for the rule of law and drive to serve your fellow man.

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It would have been easier and safer to let someone else take charge -- to take care of this incident that threatened the public's safety. But that was not John -- he embodied the job of special agent and he got involved to protect those around him. It is what ATF agents do and we respect him for it.

We have a stack of email condolences to share with you -- there are hundreds emails for the Capano family from ATF employees -- from all across the country. They are from those who knew John all the way back to his academy days and from those who'd never met him, but who share a sense of loss within the small ATF community and who grieve for events that occurred.

In the emails, people shared their grief and their great sadness at this incomprehensible loss. They also shared fond remembrances of cases they'd worked with John, of training trips they took together and even some photos. They told the family they'll be kept in thoughts and prayer and offered condolences to his coworkers in the New York Field Division. Many mentioned they'd never met him in person, but had spoken to him on the phone and fondly recalled his passion for his job. Some people addressed their comments to ATF in general, some to the Capano family and some wrote their messages directly to John, to thank him for his sacrifice and his service to our country and the American people.

I share this with you today to let you know our hearts are heavy and we share your sadness and your grief at this terrible, terrible tragedy.

John did his best to protect the public last Saturday, and in doing so, he made the ultimate sacrifice. Our agents are on duty 24-7 -- there is no time they are not on watch -- ever vigilant and mindful of their call to duty and service to the American public. They are there for our safety and for the safety of this nation -- and while I am eternally grateful, I am staggered by this loss of one of our own.

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Please know that we are here to support you -- his family and his friends. We will be here for you and we will watch over John's memory today and forever.

May God bless John and may God bless all of you who love him.