Police on Tuesday escorted the family of a fallen BART officer to the Chapel of the Chimes church in Hayward for a final visitation before a Wednesday formal funeral.
Among the hundreds who are expected to attend that funeral is Detective Michael Maes, the fellow officer who accidentally shot Sgt. Tommy Smith during a probation search.
Now, John Maes, the brother of the BART officer who shot and killed Sgt. Smith is speaking out. In an interview with NBC Bay Area’s Jodi Hernandez, he explained why his brother needs to attend his colleague’s funeral.
“He's very sorry and I know he's very upset about the whole thing,” said John Maes. “It's going to be difficult going forward.”
Maes said his younger brother, who mistakenly shot and killed fellow BART police officer Tommy Smith, is taking it very hard.
“This is something you don't plan for in life,” John Maes said. “You don't anticipate it, and I think as a result, it's harder to deal with.”
John Maes said he hasn't talked to his brother about what took place inside the Dublin apartment, but he says humans make mistakes
“That's human nature,” he said. “We're not computers. Things happen. It's a very sad event.”
John Maes says his brother loved his job and believes the highly trained officer was born to be a cop.
“He's a good cop,” he said. “He's a cop’s cop. He's the epitome of what you would expect in law enforcement.”
As Smith's loved ones say their final goodbyes, Maes says his brother plans to join them at Wednesday’s funeral.
“Tomorrow's going to be a big day. I don't mean big with people, but big with emotions,” John Maes said.
John Maes said his family will be there to pay their respects, and to support his brother, but he knows when the funeral is over there is a long road of healing and heartache ahead.
“How can you possibly minimize this tragic event? You can't. How can you forget it? You can't.”
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