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Officer shot accidentally is BART's first to die on duty

Crime, Law and JusticeLaw EnforcementCrimeShootingsBART

SAN FRANCISCO -- A Bay Area Rapid Transit officer who died Tuesday after being accidentally shot by his partner was the first killed in the line of duty in department history, the chief said in a brief evening statement.

Taking no questions, BART Police Chief Kenton Rainey said he was announcing the "tragic loss" with "a heavy heart."

Rainey confirmed that the members of BART's detective unit were conducting a probation search in Dublin, in eastern Alameda County, at about 1:45 p.m.

The Alameda County Sheriff's Department, which contracts its services to Dublin, will be conducting the investigation, he said. 

"Our condolences go out to the immediate family and friends and the extended BART family," Rainey said. "We ask that everyone please give us a chance to catch our breath [and] grieve."

Sgt. J.D. Nelson, the Sheriff's Department spokesman, confirmed that one officer fired his weapon and struck the other, who was taken to Eden Medical Center in Castro Valley. He was pronounced dead and his body was removed by coroner's officials in a flag-draped coffin.

Nelson said he would release the name of the deceased officer when the coroner's bureau authorized him to do so. The officer had been on the BART police force for "more than 20 years," he said. The officer whose bullet appeared to have struck him has been on the force for  a decade.

The detectives were searching an apartment building of a suspect who is on probation and had been arrested in connection with a number of crimes on BART property.

Nelson said the weapon either fired accidentally or the shooting was due to a "misidentified target."

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lee.romney@latimes.com

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