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article imageNo charges in shooting of BART cop by fellow officer

By Nathan Salant     Jun 2, 2014 in Crime
Dublin - None of the BART police officers present when a detective mistakenly shot and killed a fellow officer during a search in January will be charged with any crimes, officials said in a report released Friday.
Alameda County Deputy District Attorney John Creighton said there was not enough evidence to charge any officer, particularly BART Det. Michael Maes, who shot Sgt. Tom Smith by mistake in January, with a crime.
Maes, Smith and several other officers were searching an apartment in Dublin, for items believed stolen in a holdup at a BART station in Oakland when the tragedy occurred.
A suspect was already in custody and police were searching his apartment to see if they could find any of the stolen items.
BART stands for Bay Area Rapid Transit.
Creighton said in his report that Maes shot Smith by mistake when Smith emerged from a walk-in closet with his rifle raised.
Maes, who Creighton said participated in the investigation, said he did not know the layout of the apartment and was surprised when Smith emerged from the closet.
“His decision to discharge his weapon was an objectively reasonable response to his perceived threat,” the report said, according to the San Francisco Chronicle newspaper.
Creighton also said Smith's upraised arm could have prevented Maes from reading identifying markings on his bullet-proof vest.
All of the officers conducting the search were wearing the vests, but Maes' bullet struck Smith in an area that was not protected, the report said.
BART Police Chief Kenton Rainey said Friday that completion of the district attorney's report allows his office to wrap up its own investigation of the shooting.
"I've shared the DA's report with all BART Police personnel and asked that each person read and consider all the information offered by the outside investigators regarding what they felt transpired before this tragedy occurred," he said.
Smith was the first BART police officer killed in the department's 42-year history.
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