BART Confirms Identity of Shooter in Friendly-Fire Incident: Detective Michael Maes

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    NEWSLETTERS

    BART police have confirmed the identity of the officer who shot and killed by a fellow officer during a probation search in the East Bay last week. Jodi Hernandez reports.

    BART police have confirmed the identity of the officer who shot and killed a fellow officer during a probation search in the East Bay last week.

    Detective Michael Maes fired the fatal shot on Jan. 21, killing Sgt. Tom "Tommy" Smith, BART Police Chief Kenton Rainey told reporters at a press conference on Monday.

    Maes had been previously identified by police sources as the shooter, but he was not officially named by BART police until Monday afternoon. Rainey said Maes requested that his role in the shooting “be made public in the interest of transparency.”

    "We are not going to hide from the truth," Rainey said.

    Rainey said the department will get to the bottom of what led Detective Maes to accidentally shoot and kill fellow officer Tommy Smith last week.

    The chief said he is already making changes to help ensure the tragedy isn’t repeated.

    “Effective today, all planned residential parolee probation searches and arrests and search warrants must have the written approval of the operations deputy chief before being executed,” Rainey said.

    The Chief said he is also asking the Department of Justice to review some of the BART police department’s policies and procedures, including the use of lapel cameras. It's still unclear whether the uniformed officers at the shooting scene had their cameras on and recording, but the chief says, if they didn't, they should have.

    “That would be very troubling for me,” Rainey said, “but I'd have to see what was the reason for the cameras not being turned on.”

    Police say Smith died from a single bullet wound to the chest fired by Maes during a probation search at a house in Dublin. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Maes might have mistaken Smith for an armed suspect.

    Police also confirmed Monday that Detective Maes is a 26-year veteran of law enforcement who has been with the BART Police Department for 14 years. Prior to joining BART, Rainey said, Maes worked for the Moraga Police Department as a patrol officer and as a detective for 12 years.

    Police said Maes has received extra training in conducting searches and executing arrest warrants.

    “You can have all the training and experience in the world,” Rainey said. “We can train our people every day, and probably something like this could go wrong.”

    Smith is the first BART police officer to die in the line of duty.

    Smith’s funeral is scheduled for Wednesday at 10 a.m. at the Neighborhood Church of Castro Valley, also known as the Three Cross Church, at 20600 John Drive. It will be open to public.

    A viewing will take place Tuesday from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Chapel of the Chimes in Hayward at 32992 Mission Blvd. It is also open to the public.

     

    The Tommy Smith Memorial fund has been set up at Wells Fargo Bank. Deposits can be made at any Wells Fargo Bank, Account # 5148561086 under Kellie Smith. Or they can be mailed to:

    Tommy Smith Memorial Fund C/O Wells Fargo
    11020 Bollinger Canyon Road, Suite 1
    San Ramon, CA 94582