By Alex Gronke
A BART police officer was accidentally shot and killed by a fellow BART officer during a probation search at an apartment building in Dublin on Tuesday afternoon, authorities said.
Officer Tom Smith, a 20-year veteran of the department, died at Eden Medical Center shortly after he was shot about 1 p.m., leaving behind his wife, who also works in the BART Police Department, and his 6-year-old daughter, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page, a website dedicated to fallen officers.
Sgt. J.D. Nelson of Alameda County Sheriff's Office said the suspect was not home during the incident.
Smith was the first BART officer killed in the line of duty it the transit agency's history, according to BART police.
Bay City News Service quoted Nelson saying the shooting occurred at the Park Sierra Apartments at 6450 Dougherty Road, where several officers went search an apartment belonging to a suspect in a series of recent robberies on BART.
Nelson said the two officers entered the apparently empty apartment and one officer accidentally fired a shot that wounded the other officer, according to Bay City News.
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 news agency reported.
Dublin police are currently investigating and questioning all officers who were at the scene. According to Nelson, an officer from Dublin Police Services was stationed outside the apartment during the search, in addition to several BART officers.
"Today's tragedy was the first death of an officer in the line of duty in the history of the BART Police Department," said BART Police Chief Kenton Rainey in a statement late today. "While performing a probation search, one BART police officer accidentally shot another officer who later died from the injury. The officers were following up on a crime committed on BART property. The Dublin Police Department (which contracts with the Alameda County Sheriff's Department) has taken over the investigation and no further details are available at this time."
BART issued the following statement shortly before 4 p.m.
"BART has been informed that one of our officers has died from wounds sustained during a shooting earlier today. 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."