Calif. cop who shot colleague will attend funeral

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Associated Press

Posted on January 27, 2014 at 10:05 PM

Updated Monday, Jan 27 at 10:33 PM

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — The San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit agency detective who shot and killed a colleague is a 26-year law enforcement veteran who asked that his name be made public to provide transparency as the fatal shooting is investigated, BART's police chief said Monday.

Officer Michael Maes also will attend the funeral of Sgt. Tom Smith, the fellow detective he killed, on Wednesday, Chief Kenton Rainey said.

"Absolutely. Mike is a member of this agency," Rainey said during a news briefing at BART headquarters in Oakland.

The chief identified Maes, who has been with the BART police for the past 14 years, as the officer who fatally shot his colleague. Smith, 42, was shot last Tuesday while officers searched an apartment in Dublin, Calif., for items stolen during a recent armed holdup at a BART train station in Oakland.

Rainey took exception when he was asked if Maes, a plainclothes detective, had experience doing such searches. He said BART police detectives have conducted at least 18 searches in the past year.

"Obviously, something did not go the way we wanted it to go," Rainey said. "You can have all of the training and experience in the world, we can train our people every other day and have them actually performing out in the field on the off-days and probably something like this could go wrong unintended."

Smith, a plainclothes detective who was wearing a bulletproof vest, died from a single gunshot wound to the chest in an area not covered by the vest, authorities said. Smith, who led BART police's detective unit, was the first officer killed in the line of duty in the agency's 42-year history.

Alameda County Sheriff's investigators have not said whether Maes' weapon discharged accidentally or if he mistook Smith for someone else.

Rainey said the investigation should be completed in about three to four weeks.

The chief cited the ongoing investigation and did not answer questions regarding published reports that some officers were either not wearing their body video cameras or had them turned off before the shooting and if Maes mistakenly thought Smith was an armed threat.

"All of those questions will be asked and answered and brought to light," Rainey said. "We will not hide from the truth."

Rainey did say that it would be "very troubling" to him if two uniformed officers at the search did not have their cameras on as required.

Also, Rainey announced that all planned residential probation and parole searches must have the written approval of a deputy chief in charge of patrol operations before they are executed. The deputy chief in charge of such operations knew about last week's search, Rainey said.

The chief added that he will request that the U.S. Department of Justice provide technical assistance in reviewing the BART police's policies and training, including its use of force and body-video cameras as well as its procedures when conducting searches.

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