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Smith/Maes Shooting Accidental: Investigators

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BART police officer Michael Maes once worked for the Moraga Police Department.

The BART police officer who fired a fatal shot into his friend and supervisor while searching an apartment for a robbery suspect mistook the officer for an armed suspect who suddenly emerged from a darkened room.

District Attorney’s Investigators looking into the officer-on-officer shooting found that Michael Maes, pictured at right, fired when Sgt. Tom Smith suddenly emerged from a darkened walk-in closet, his arm up and obscuring the markings on his ballistic vest. Maes, who worked in Moraga from 1988 to 2000 before taking a job with BART, fired once – his bullet mortally wounding Smith as the pair searched a one-bedroom apartment in Dublin with other officers.

Smith, of San Ramon, was rushed to Eden Medical Center in Castro Valley but died of his wound. He leaves his wife Kellie – who is also a serving BART police officer – and a 6-year-old daughter.

A stunned and grieving law enforcement community quickly formed a protective cordon around the families of both men, and investigators went to work to determine how the Jan. 21 shooting could have happened. Police ruled out an accidental discharge of Maes’ weapon and said the officer opened fire when Sgt. Smith suddenly appeared from a portion of the apartment where Maes did not expect to see him, Smith’s arm raised as if ready to fire.