Fallen BART officer remembered as loving husband, father

AT BART Sgt. Tommy Smith's funeral, the officer was remembered as a man who defined himself as a loving husband and father.
January 29, 2014 6:00:37 PM PST
Many Oakland police officers had the day off Wednesday to attend the funeral for a BART police officer who was killed by friendly fire last week. A hug, a handshake, and a pat on the back; officers reached out to one another and then they saluted a fallen colleague.

There were no cameras allowed inside the church for the service, but I did sit in for the nearly two hour funeral. There were many tears, there was some laughter, and clearly a lot of love for a man admired by so many.

The services for BART Sgt. Tommy Smith began under misty grey skies, with the removal of the fallen officer's casket from a silver hearse.

His two brothers, also police officers, were among the pallbearers.

Smith's wife Kellie and their 6-year-old daughter Summer, dressed in pink, followed behind.

They were surrounded by law enforcement officers from all over California, and even from other states.

Sergeant Smith was accidentally shot by fellow BART Officer Michael Maes during the search of a home. Maes' brother told us that the officer had planned to be at the funeral, but ended up not attending.

Officers from other agencies tell us they are thinking of both men; that this death feels even more tragic because of how it happened.

"We can imagine being involved ourselves in a thing like this and it's kind of frightening and, again, we relate not only as a victim, but we relate in this case in both sides of the incident," Tiburon Police Sgt. Bob Rossi said. "It's great that he can summon up the courage to be here, because a lot of people in his position would want to go hide. So that's great, and again, I think it's important that the rest of the officers kind of show support for him."

Inside the church, Attorney General Kamala Harris directed some of her comments directly toward Smith's only child.

"You are a beautiful girl," Harris said. "Your daddy is a hero and that's how the state of California thinks of him."

Later, Tom Smith's two brothers Patrick and Edward took the stage.

"We would never say goodbye," Patrick said. "I'm not going to say goodbye today. Stay safe little brother."

"We all worked the street together, we worked special assignments together," said former BART Officer Nina Garcia. "They're just the greatest people."

The former BART police officer worked with both Tom and Kellie Smith.

"I will remember Tommy's sense of humor; his very stoic, very dry sense of humor," Garcia said. "He was just a good man."

"When he became a BART police officer, he transformed into a good officer, a man," former BART Police Chief Gary Gee said. "And when he met Kellie it turned his life around. And when he became a father, it just made him a complete person."

Humans weren't the only ones there to pay respects. About 30 officers brought their K-9 partners and lined them up because Sergeant Smith was once a K-9 officer. It's actually how he met his wife, who is a K-9 officer with the BART Police Department.

Sergeant Smith is the first BART officer killed on the job in the agency's history.

After the service, Kellie Smith and young Summer walked through the line of police officers all wanting to pay their last respects to a man who excelled as a detective, but who defined himself as a loving husband and father.

The Tommy Smith Memorial fund has been set up at Wells Fargo Bank. Deposits can be made at any Wells Fargo Bank, Account #5148561086 under Kellie Smith.

Or they can be mailed to:
Tommy Smith Memorial Fund C/O Wells Fargo
11020 Bollinger Canyon Road, Suite 1
San Ramon, CA 94582


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