Tags: bart | officer | shot | probation

BART Officer Fatally Shot by Colleague During Probation Search

Wednesday, 22 Jan 2014 11:30 AM

By Clyde Hughes

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Bay Area Rapid Transit Police Sgt. Tom Smith Jr., 42, became the first BART officer killed in the line of duty Tuesday after he was shot by a fellow officer during a probation search at a California apartment.

Details around the shooting that took place in Dublin, Calif., southeast of Oakland, were not released, according to the San Jose Mercury News. The shooting occurred about 2 p.m. when BART and Dublin officers were at an apartment complex on Dougherty Road, Alameda County Sheriff Office Sgt. J.D. Nelson said. 

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"This is a shocking thing for a BART officer to be killed in the line of duty," BART Director Gail Murray said. "But like all peace officers, our BART police risk their lives when they go out to work in the stations and cities. We feel very saddened for the family, who would not expect this to happen to their loved ones."

The officers arrived at the apartment to serve a warrant on a suspect wanted in connection with numerous robberies on BART property, Nelson told the Mercury News. Nelson said that the suspect, whose name was not released, was in custody at the time.

The Contra Costa Times reported that BART Police Chief Kenton Rainey and BART General Manager Grace Crunican visited Smith's family to offer their condolences and support. 

"The entire BART organization is deeply saddened by this tragic event and we ask the public to keep the officer's family in its thoughts and prayers," Rainey and Crunican said in a joint statement.

The Dublin Police Department is investigating the shooting and the officers involved in the incident are being questioned.

The San Francisco Chronicle reported that BART has had a troubled past with shootings, including the death of unarmed passenger Oscar Grant III on New Year's Day 2009 after he was detained at the Fruitville station. 

That case, which carried racial overtones because Grant was black and the officer, Johannes Mehserle, was white, ended with Mehserle being convicted of involuntary manslaughter and sentenced to two years minus time served.

Last month, an independent auditor reported that BART police have made progress in reforms incorporated after Grant's death.

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