On the left, an undated photo released by the U.S....

On the left, an undated photo released by the U.S. Department of Justice shows Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms Special Agent John Capano. On the right, James Capano, left, the father of slain federal agent John Capano, is comforted Jan. 1, 2012 outside Charlie's Family Pharmacy on Merrick Road in Seaford. Credit: AP and Kevin P. Coughlin

Federal agent John Capano dedicated his career to fighting violent crime and was no stranger to dangerous assignments, the Department of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said Tuesday in a news release.

Capano, 51, of Massapequa, was trying to stop an armed robbery of Charlie's Family Pharmacy in Seaford on New Year's Eve when he was fatally shot.

Law enforcement sources told Newsday on Monday the shot that killed Capano most likely was fired by a retired Nassau County police officer.

Tuesday's biography of Capano, released by the federal agency through Nassau County police, offered a look into his training and his commitment to fighting crime.

A senior special agent, Capano was in his 24th year with the ATF and was assigned to the New York Field Division's Long Island Field Office, the release said. He was a member of the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association and the International Association of Bomb Technicians and Investigators.

Capano also worked with the ATF's Peer Support Team, volunteering to help law enforcement officers and their family members work through crisis situations.

Before being hired by the ATF, Capano was an investigator with the New York State Department of Law, Office of Attorney General. He went to Seaford High School and was a graduate of the C.W. Post Campus of Long Island University, where he was a criminal justice major and a member of the National Criminal Justice Honor Society.

Capano, an explosives specialist, also "hosted numerous explosives related training courses" for law enforcement officers, the release said.

He "was no stranger to dangerous assignments" and in August 2007 went to Bogota, Colombia, "where he provided post blast investigation and advanced explosives destruction techniques training to Colombian law enforcement officers as well as officers from Argentina, Brazil, Costa Rica, Panama and Paraguay."

In April 2008, Capano went to Iraq for a 90-day mission with the Law and Order Task Force at a base just outside the International Zone in Baghdad. In Iraq, "he worked with civilian and military Coalition Forces to train and mentor Iraqi police in support of the LAOTF mission to build Iraqi capacity for independent, evidence-based, transparent investigations and to expand the rule of civilian law in Iraq," according to the release.

In May 2010, Capano volunteered for a 30-day assignment to Afghanistan, where he staged several "explosives related training courses to U.S. and coalition forces, members of the Afghan National Army and the Afghan National Police."

Capano also was highly decorated.

In 2008, U.S. Attorney Benton J. Campbell presented him with the Award for Public Service for his work in the investigation and trial of the firebombing of Roseanne's Cards Galore, a stationery store in New Hyde Park.

He also was awarded the ATF Foreign Service Medal for his deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan, and the "Patriots Award" from the Nassau County Police Reserves Association.

Capano's hobbies included motorcycling, boating, walking his dog and spending time with his family.

Survivors include his wife of 21 years, Dori, and their children, John M., a freshman at Northeastern University, and Natalie, a sophomore at St. John the Baptist High School in West Islip.

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