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Officers Cleared in Fatal Seaford Pharmacy Shooting

DA's report reveals chaotic series of events in New Year's Eve shooting.

No criminal charges will be brought on the two police officers involved in a outside of a Seaford pharmacy.

Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice announced Monday afternoon that Christopher Geraghty, a retired Nassau County police lieutenant, and Joseph Arbia, an off-duty New York City police officer, were cleared after an investigation revealed that the use of deadly force was warranted, given the situation.

On Dec. 31, 2011, , 43, of Hampton Bays, enter , pulled out a gun and announced a holdup. John Capano of Massapequa, an off-duty federal agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), was in the store at the time and attempted to stop the robbery.

According to Rice, Capano announced his presence to McGoey. When McGoey heard the command, he turned his gun, which turned out to be a pellet gun that was inoperable, on Capano. Upon seeing McGoey's response, Capano fired one shot, striking McGoey in the buttocks.

In this time, a pharmacy employee had ran into the nearby and began yelling about the attempted robbery. Geraghty, the deli's owner, and Arbia were both in the deli at the time, Rice said. The two ran out to the front of the pharmacy where they saw Capano struggling with McGoey for a gun.

Unaware who was responsible for the robbery, Geraghty ran behind Capano and grabbed him around his neck as Capano and Geraghty struggled for control of Capano's gun, Rice said.

According to the DA's report, "Capano turned in such a way that the gun faced Geraghty, and a shot from Agent Capano’s gun flew past Geraghty’s ear. Believing that this unidentified armed man was trying to shoot him, Geraghty put his gun to Agent Capano’s rib cage and fired."

Shortly thereafter, Arbia shot and killed McGoey, who was "within arm's length" of Capano's weapon and refused to listen to police commands, Rice said.

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The report determines that the use of was necessary even if Geraghty "was mistaken in his belief that deadly force was about to be used against him."

Thus, the determination whether Geraghty’s conduct was justified does not depend on whether he was mistaken about Agent Capano’s intent, but only on whether his belief concerning Capano’s intent was reasonable. Nor does it depend on whether a bullet had already been fired near Geraghty’s head, because if his fear of deadly physical force was reasonable, it was reasonable immediately upon the pointing of the gun at him. The prosecution would be unable to prove that a man looking down the barrel of a gun was unreasonable in his belief that deadly physical force was about to be used upon him.

The DA's report acknowledges that many of the accounts given of the shooting were . However, the DA attributed the inconsistencies to "terror and chaos" of the situation. "But none of this raises either a suggestion or even a suspicion of lying on the part of any of the witnesses to this terrifying event," the report reads.

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