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Slain ATF agent honored with street naming

Surrounded by friends and family, Natalie and John

Surrounded by friends and family, Natalie and John Capano unveil the sign for Senior Special Agent John F. Capano Avenue, in honor of their father, at the intersection of Waverly Avenue and Seamans Neck Road in Seaford. (July 21, 2012) Credit: Barry Sloan

John Capano grew up in Seaford. The ATF agent also died in the community -- shot on New Year's Eve as he struggled with a robbery suspect.

Hempstead Town officials on Saturday renamed a portion of the street in front of Capano's childhood home in his honor, saying he should be remembered for making the "ultimate sacrifice."

As Capano's widow, relatives, friends and former Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives colleagues watched, Waverly Avenue at Seamans Neck Road was renamed Senior Special Agent John F. Capano Avenue. The sign hangs cater-cornered to the two-story brick house where his father still lives.

"John was a Seaford boy," his widow, Dori Capano, 56, of Massapequa, said. "This is where John's roots are."

Capano, 51, died a hero. After witnessing a robbery at Charlie's Family Pharmacy, he tried to subdue the suspect. As the two grappled over Capano's gun, a retired Nassau police lieutenant mistook him for the robber and fired the fatal shot, authorities said.

The Nassau County district attorney's office has declined to file criminal charges against the retired officer.

"John truly made the ultimate sacrifice protecting the lives of our residents," Hempstead Town Supervisor Kate Murray said at the ceremony. "It is only appropriate we name the street on which he grew up in honor of this courageous man who gave his life protecting the lives of others."

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