Memo: Different account of Capano shooting

Members of the FBI Evidence Response Team closed Members of the FBI Evidence Response Team closed off Merrick Road to gather more evidence outside of Charlie's Family Pharmacy. (Jan. 1, 2012) Photo Credit: Kevin P. Coughlin

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A pharmacist at the Seaford drugstore where off-duty ATF agent John Capano was fatally shot trying to stop a robber on New Year's Eve gave investigators a dramatic witness account of the shooting, according to a confidential internal memorandum from the Nassau County district attorney's office.

The pharmacist's account differed from that offered by a lawyer for retired Nassau police Lt. Christopher Geraghty, who mistakenly shot Capano, on some aspects of the sequence of events immediately before and after the shooting.

Geraghty's lawyer, Brian J. Davis, said, "In the heat of battle, people see different things in different ways."

A law enforcement source said Wednesday that one part of the pharmacist's account -- that Capano was shot in the back -- differs from what the autopsy report showed, which was that Capano was killed by a shot to the right side of his chest, tearing into his aorta. The source said the shot came from a .38-caliber revolver, the same caliber gun Geraghty was carrying that day.

According to the memorandum, the pharmacist said he also drew a pistol during the pursuit of the robber, intending "to assist Capano."

The three-page document is based on a Jan. 10 interview by prosecutors and detectives with the pharmacist who was on duty at the time. It was accidentally posted on the DA's website, according to a spokesman.

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"A confidential internal memorandum from an ongoing investigation was mislabeled and placed on the district attorney's website in error," John Byrne, a spokesman for District Attorney Kathleen Rice, said in a statement Wednesday. "This interview represents just one of many perspectives of the Seaford tragedy and no conclusions should be drawn from it.

"The district attorney's office is reviewing our electronic security procedures to prevent such accidental disclosures in the future."

The document has been removed from the website.