Thousands Gather For Funeral Of Slain BART Officer
CASTRO VALLEY, Calif. (AP) — Thousands of police officers, family and loved ones were among the mourners who gathered at the funeral Wednesday of a San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit officer who was shot and killed by a fellow officer.
As bagpipes hummed, scores of officers from as far away as Massachusetts saluted and shed tears as the U.S. flag-draped casket of BART police Sgt. Tom Smith arrived before services at the Neighborhood Church of Castro Valley.
Smith’s widow, Kellie, and their 6-year-old daughter held her mother’s hand as they followed the casket carried by pallbearers that included his two brothers and a brother-in-law who also work in law enforcement in the area.
During the more than hour-long service, California Attorney General Kamala Harris smiled at Smith’s young daughter and told her that “Your dad is a hero.”
Smith, 42, died last week after being shot by fellow BART officer Michael Maes during an apartment search. A 23-year veteran, Smith climbed through the department’s ranks as a cadet to lead BART police’s detective unit. He was the first officer killed in the line of duty in the transit agency’s history.
An emotional BART Police Chief Kenton Rainey told mourners Wednesday that Smith will never be forgotten.
One of Smith’s brothers, Newark police Officer Patrick Smith, said the world was a better place with his younger brother in it and that his death has “cheated all of us.”
“Stay safe little brother,” Patrick Smith said. “We love you, and we’ll miss you greatly.”
Smith was killed Jan. 21 from a single gunshot wound to the chest in an area not covered by bulletproof vest when he and four other BART officers were searching the apartment of a man suspected in several robberies at BART train stations.
At the end of the service, the flag from Smith’s casket was folded by an honor guard. Rainey presented it to Smith’s wife.
A bugler sounded “Taps,” and a recording was played in which a dispatcher called out for S-34 — Tom Smith’s badge number —and said, “Gone, but never forgotten. Thank you for your service.”
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