A Real-Life ‘Cop Land’

March 12: Fatal Confusion in a Nassau Town
As the episode unfolded a week and a half ago, Mr. Cafarella is believed to have yelled “Gun!” at a crucial instant. Later, witnesses said, he grabbed the rifle of Officer Breitkopf as he was dying. Other tiny and unlucky factors piled up before the officer’s death: Officer Breitkopf’s rifle had been pointed in the worst possible direction; a small-bore dispute with a neighbor contributed another note of tension to an already taut situation. One issue is whether the phenomenon of police overresponse to a crime contributed to the confusion. In short order, more than a dozen police officers — even that count is murky — converged that Saturday evening in Massapequa Park on one house, making for an overpopulated scene that was difficult to control, with officers who did not know one another, their guns out.
Dec. 31: Routine Drugstore Run Turns Deadly for Agent
As the suspect, whom the police identified as James McGoey, 43, began to walk away, Agent Capano trailed after him down a parallel aisle. Near the door, Agent Capano shot Mr. McGoey once, striking him in the leg or hip, the person said. As the two men spilled outside, two more men arrived: an off-duty officer of the New York Police Department and a recently retired Nassau County police lieutenant. Both had been in a nearby deli, and one or both were armed, according to the person and another official, both of whom who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the inquiry was continuing. More shots were fired in the seconds that followed, and details of precisely what occurred remained murky a day later.