Beyond Claycord – UPDATE: Officer Shot, Killed by Fellow Officer was Investigating Robberies on BART

January 21, 2014 · 53 comments

A BART police officer was accidentally shot and killed by a fellow officer while conducting a probation search in Dublin this afternoon, an Alameda County sheriff’s spokesman said.

The shooting occurred just before 2 p.m. at the Park Sierra Apartments at 6450 Dougherty Road, Alameda County sheriff’s Sgt. J.D. Nelson said.

Nelson said several officers went there to search an apartment belonging to a suspect in a series of recent robberies on BART.

The two officers entered the apparently empty apartment and one officer accidentally fired a shot that wounded the other officer, Nelson said.

The wounded officer was taken to Eden Medical Center in Castro Valley, where he succumbed to his injuries, Nelson said.

Nelson said he assumes that the officers had their guns drawn as they entered the apartment but that the details of how or why the officer’s gun went off remain unclear.

The suspect was not at home at the time of the shooting. Dublin police are investigating the shooting. The city of Dublin contracts with the sheriff’s office for police services.

BART Police Chief Kenton Rainey and General Manager Grace Crunican said in a statement, “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 said that he and Crunican visited with the officer’s family after the shooting to offer condolences and support. The officer’s name has not been released.

The shooting marks the first death of a BART police officer in the agency’s history.

© 2014 by Bay City News, Inc. — Republication, Rebroadcast or any other Reuse without the express written consent of Bay City News, Inc. is prohibited.

UPDATE: The officer has been identified as 42-year-old Tom Smith, of San Ramon.

1 Craig January 21, 2014 at 9:17 PM

This is tragic and sad. Not sure how you pull your weapon on a fellow officer in an empty apartment, but unfortunately it happens.

2 caskydiver January 21, 2014 at 9:22 PM

How tragic….condolences to the loved ones of the fallen officer. If this was an accident, I cannot imagine how terrible the officer that did the shooting must feel.

3 Mother Tere' January 21, 2014 at 9:27 PM

Rest in Peace Tom Smith. I hope they throw the book at the creep you were trying to arrest.

4 bart_rider January 21, 2014 at 9:28 PM

I am amazed at how busy BART police has been lately. Every fare evader seems to have a no bail warrant or some other serious issue going. How does this happen, one officer accidentally wounds another in a situation like this one? Yes, there have been a lot of robberies, car thefts, burglaries, etc., on BART of late; they need more officers.

5 J. January 21, 2014 at 9:31 PM

BART cops are busy cops. Listen to their scanner channel someday. You’ll be surprised at how much police work they do.

Rest-in-Peace, Officer Tom Smith.

6 lg January 21, 2014 at 9:52 PM

All judgements aside, It is a tragedy for the fallen officer, his family as well as the officer who shot him and his family. God Bless them!!!

7 Officer Down Memorial Page January 21, 2014 at 10:00 PM
8 Shelly January 21, 2014 at 10:11 PM

I’m so sad for everyone involved.

9 Rick January 21, 2014 at 10:11 PM

Sorry to say but someone needs to take the guns away from BART cops.

10 J. January 21, 2014 at 10:23 PM
11 Libertarian January 21, 2014 at 10:49 PM

This is a tragedy for the families of both officers, BART and all other law organizations. I get really tired of reading all the snarky comments from the critics who, if they had to do it themselves, would throw up all over themselves if they had to do what any law enforcement or first responders do every day. So, if you want to be snarky, go away, go back under the covers, assume the pre-natal position and turn the electric blanket up to nine.
Damn wussies.

Tom Smith End of Watch 1/21/14 RIP

12 Hubby Jo January 21, 2014 at 11:11 PM

This is a training failure. My heart goes out to all law enforcement and their families tonight.

13 Elwood January 21, 2014 at 11:14 PM

The suspect was not home at the time of the shooting because he was in jail.

Which, supposedly, the BART cops knew.

14 Billy January 22, 2014 at 2:05 AM

Are they going to charge the BART guard with murder?

15 The Mamba January 22, 2014 at 7:08 AM

Why is a BART police searching apartments in Dublin?

16 Antler January 22, 2014 at 7:25 AM

Hubby Jo, this might not have been a training failure. All we really know is that the shooting resulted in the sad death of a police officer. I am not scolding you…..merely reminding MYSELF. It is possible that the officer who fired the weapon might have at one time served in Iraq or Afghanistan running house-to-house search missions….and that on the night in question he had a flashback episode. It is normal to have thoughts of “why” mingling with such great compassion for both families and for the department.

17 Antonio January 22, 2014 at 7:46 AM

I was told last night that the officer shot and killed his boss. This is very sad and tragic.

18 Lori January 22, 2014 at 7:58 AM

Rest In Peace Sargent Tom Smith, my deepest sympathy to your wife, daughter, extended family, and friends. Thank you for your service. So very sad :(

19 ANON January 22, 2014 at 8:18 AM

“Not sure how you pull your weapon on a fellow officer in an empty apartment, but unfortunately it happens.”

He did not pull it on a fellow Officer..he was going into a location an felon lived/used to live in–there may be others with guns inside. Cops get killed by those types all the time. Tactics to stay alive in a hostile setting are hard to explain to those who hate cops.

20 Rick January 22, 2014 at 8:21 AM

Unintelligent and naive ? I think not. I have carried a weapon in uniform and carry everyday as a resident of a free state. While the loss of any Police Officer in the line of duty is tragic, BART police seem to have a history of shooting the wrong people.

21 Domestic CEO January 22, 2014 at 8:28 AM

So very sad. But I agree with Rick #9. BART police should not have guns, but tasers. If they are not trained like the police how to use their firearms, then they shouldn’t have them. BART police are not the same as cops, they don’t have the same rigorous training… otherwise they would be regular cops! Why does one become a BART policeperson? Because they don’t make it as a regular cop, which has translated into accidental shootings.

BART cops should not be off BART property, they are BART cops. They should work with the regular police force to go off the property to catch perpetrators.

22 Incognito January 22, 2014 at 8:29 AM

“Friendly Fire”…. it happens more often than it should. Sad story.

23 Theo Huxtable January 22, 2014 at 8:36 AM

honest question if Jonannes Mehserle was tried for murder shouldn’t this cop be tried for murder too? Both were accidents I guess we will see what the same district attorney says. My guess is this bart cop will get off because there is no outrage from the public and the lawyers.

24 Chevrolet girl January 22, 2014 at 8:49 AM

It is a sad situation. Accidents happen in any job profession no matter how well trained. My heart goes out to the Smith family and the family of the other officer involved. This is something that will affect all of them for the rest of their lives. A very emotional day for the family, police, firefighters and paramedics. His passing has touched more then you know so please be respectful when commenting. Remember none of us have the facts.

25 ChampagneKitty January 22, 2014 at 8:51 AM

to Domestic CEO: I’m sorry, but you are incorrect. BART Police ARE regular police officers, just as regular as any other police force working for a city or county or state. They are trained at the police academy just like any other cop.

26 Sad January 22, 2014 at 8:52 AM

#22, they we’re working with Dublin police. Also, agencies do this all the time, Concord PD recently went to San Fran to get the shooter in the Wendy’s parking lot murder.

27 Noflow January 22, 2014 at 9:02 AM

RIP

28 Shelley January 22, 2014 at 9:09 AM

If the suspect was already in custody, why were they at the apartment?

29 Horse'n Around January 22, 2014 at 9:43 AM

@ Shelley. Because most of the time, other losers are still living there, and they want to make sure they get everyone out of the house. For whatever reason they arrested him for, they need to keep the house empty to do an investigation of his property.

30 Diablo January 22, 2014 at 9:58 AM

Very sad, I feel sorry for the family of the victim. Even when properly trained accidents sometimes still happen.

31 Upset January 22, 2014 at 10:56 AM

I’m sorry this officer lost his life, but it also brings up the memory of Oscar Grant. Another accidental gun going off and taking someones life. These officers are beyond well paid, but obviously more gun training is needed before more lives are accidentally lost.

32 Anon January 22, 2014 at 11:42 AM

“honest question if Jonannes Mehserle was tried for murder shouldn’t this cop be tried for murder too?”

Oscar’s case was totally racial in nature. Both are accidents. If there was no trial in Oscar’s case the cities would have burned as some groups have no self control & they usually get away with it.

33 jets January 22, 2014 at 12:01 PM

a lot of law enforcement officers should not carry a gun , a tin badge does not equal good judgement, not the last in ccc I’m sure, just heard some toy Probation Officers finally got guns after all these years, look out!!! What a joke of a dept our CCC Probation Department is!!!

34 jets January 22, 2014 at 12:04 PM

If Oscar was white, you guys would not be on here or wasting your time caring, always making it black/white. Lets look at the real problem??? Richmond and Pittsburg now up for sale, very low price to get out of CCC. But CCC will always suck up to the minorities anyways.

35 Lucy January 22, 2014 at 12:33 PM

BART Police Officers are fully sworn Peace Officers that have the same powers of arrest as city Police Officers and county Sheriff’s Deputies. In addition, BART Officers attend the same Police Academies and receive continuous police training. – See more at: http://www.bart.gov/about/police/howto/faq#sthash.QgpsJbwa.dpuf

36 Domestic CEO January 22, 2014 at 12:49 PM

OK Champagne Kitty, you are right and wrong too. Both transit cops and regular policemen get training. But regular policemen get constant training, even after the initial schooling period. BART police do not, unless they go on their own time and do their own thing. Here is an interesting article about officer training and the difference between regular police and transit cops.
http://turnstylenews.com/2011/07/08/new-shooting-same-question-should-transit-cops-have-guns/
In the article, they felt BART should have guns and no tazers so as not to confuse the situation. I still think the opposite… after all, they don’t have a job which puts them in the line of danger on a daily basis like a street cop. They are there to protect the transit system and uphold the law in and around their property. That’s it. There is not a majority of “bad people” calls at BART–mostly transients, misbehaving kids, drunkenness, and the like. Some thieving, a few muggings… Not someone killing people like they do on the streets of Oakland, Richmond, San Jose, etc. Transit cops are just not as well-trained on a regular basis as street cops.

I know I am the minority, but that’s just what I believe.

37 ANON January 22, 2014 at 2:55 PM

“But regular policemen get constant training, even after the initial schooling period. BART police do not, unless they go on their own time and do their own thing.”

100% not true

38 @ Domestic CEO January 22, 2014 at 3:39 PM

You have absolutely no idea what you are blithering about and listing an article from some obscure blogger and citing it as evidence doesn’t make it so. BART PD police officers are peace officers under 830.33 PC (Penal Code) and their authority extends to any place in the State of California 830.31 PC. Every peace officer, including BART PD, are covered under same training requirement set forth by the California Commission on Peace Officers Standards and Training 830 PC Every peace officer in the state is required to complete a POST accredited police academy. In a two year training cycle every peace officer is required to successfully complete the Continuing Professional Training and Perishable Skills Programs in addition to any specialized training courses required for their job assignments.

39 Elwood January 22, 2014 at 3:57 PM

@ Lucy #37

“BART Police Officers are fully sworn Peace Officers that have the same powers of arrest as city Police Officers and county Sheriff’s Deputies.”

So how come the boys/girls have to call a sargent to give his/her blessing that they made a righteous bust?

40 Elwood January 22, 2014 at 4:00 PM

@ @ Domestic CEO #40

So why is the BART police force pretty much universally considered to be doofuses by other departments?

41 @ Elwood January 22, 2014 at 5:13 PM

It’s policy not a lawful requirement. Contra Costa Sheriff’s deputies have to check with their sergeants before they make an arrest too and the CHP asks either their sergeant or OIC for permission to impound a vehicle for 30 days. Does that make them some how less qualified too or does that leap in logic apply only to BART PD?

As to other departments thinking them “doofuses”. Do you think it’s possible for you to make a bigger over generalize of a personal opinion and then call it a statement of fact than that little nugget of propaganda? Okay, I’ll play along. Every asked a Soldier what he thinks the combat usefulness of a Marine is? Plus I find it extremely hard to believe that anyone who uses the term “perp” has any inkling what the cops in Bay Area think about BART PD. You do realize the majority of the BART police force is made up from lateral transfers from Bay Area PDs and S/Os. What am I saying. You have the pulse of Bay Area law enforcement at your fingertips.

42 Mitch January 22, 2014 at 7:22 PM

I read in the paper the suspect was in custody. What were they looking for with guns drawn?

Very sad and tragic.

43 Chevrolet girl January 22, 2014 at 8:24 PM

Could be they thought other people might be in the house.

44 mika January 22, 2014 at 10:16 PM

How the hell do you shoot your boss? Poorly trained and emotionally unfit to carry and use a gun? Terrible tragedy, shouldn’t have happened. Take the guns away from the BART cops.

45 shadowblade January 22, 2014 at 10:39 PM

Domestic CEO…

ChampagneKitty is correct.

http://www.bart.gov/sites/default/files/docs/OfficerSelection_2.pdf

“Entry level police officers must attend a POST academy for six-months, have up to 22 weeks of field training, and then serve a one-year probationary period.”

For more info… http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/cgi-bin/displaycode?section=pen&group=00001-01000&file=830-832.17

“830.33. The following persons are peace officers whose authority
extends to any place in the state for the purpose of performing their
primary duty or when making an arrest pursuant to Section 836 as to
any public offense with respect to which there is immediate danger to
person or property, or of the escape of the perpetrator of that
offense, or pursuant to Section 8597 or 8598 of the Government Code.
Those peace officers may carry firearms only if authorized and under
terms and conditions specified by their employing agency.
(a) A member of the San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District
Police Department appointed pursuant to Section 28767.5 of the Public
Utilities Code, if the primary duty of the peace officer is the
enforcement of the law in or about properties owned, operated, or
administered by the district or when performing necessary duties with
respect to patrons, employees, and properties of the district.”

46 Scott January 23, 2014 at 3:51 AM

See, their just bad shooters. RIP Oscar Grant, sorry you had to deal with a bunch of idiots….

47 . January 23, 2014 at 8:34 AM

So, you folks who aren’t ting down he BART officers….

Why don’t you go through the academy, get hired on, and allow BART to benefit from your extensive experience?

Or are you just gonna hide behind your keyboard as you make uninformed statements?

Sheesh!

48 Horse'n Around January 23, 2014 at 9:03 AM

Why do people support losers?

49 Claire January 23, 2014 at 9:12 AM

The suspect lived in a ONE BEDROOM APT, and he was in custody. Who did they really think was going to be in that apt.? A gay roommate?

Sometimes you have to think outside of the box. And the BART police didn’t.

50 @ Claire January 23, 2014 at 10:56 AM

Thank God gay people don’t kill. Thanks for clearing that up for me. I had no idea only heterosexuals commit murder.. but seriously, they are going to someone’s home, even a one bedroom apartment can have a roommate, significant other or simply people flopping there.

They are there because they were investigating a robbery – you know that’s when you take something from someone against their will by force or fear – maybe armed or maybe just strong-armed.

They are going to use their authority to search the residence against the will of the owner or any occupants inside – by force if necessary.

They arrive and discover the door is unlocked when they fully expect it to be locked. Why is the door unlocked when they know their suspect is in custody? Was it an oversight? Was it on purpose? Is someone waiting inside for them to enter? Did they just discover an in progress burglary? No way for them to know for sure exactly what is happening but don’t you think a prudent police officer would be suspicious?

Regardless, when you are going into some else’s home against their will and exercising your governmental authority a reasonable and prudent person should expect that sometimes the person(s) inside might not like that and might try to stop you by force.

You are looking at this with the benefit of 20-20 hindsight. Like you said sometimes you have to think outside the box and you didn’t.

51 rw January 23, 2014 at 10:59 AM

It’s time to take the guns away from BART police officers. Apparently they are not capable in handling these weapons correctly.

52 Craig January 23, 2014 at 12:18 PM

@Claire~~~52

I’m with Claire. This was a one bedroom apartment, not a 3500 sq. ft. house. It doesn’t take long to see that no one is in the apartment.

If you shoot your partner, you don’t know what you’re doing.

53 Horse'n Around January 23, 2014 at 1:17 PM

Wow! I didn’t know that there were sooo many people from Claycord that would know what to do in that situation. These people should be in law enforcement. I know I would feel safer. Hope to see you at the Academy.

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: