CASTRO VALLEY -- By the thousands, police officers, dignitaries and mourners poured into a church here Wednesday to bid farewell to fallen Sgt. Tom Smith Jr., a BART police veteran who was remembered as the quintessential family man.

BART police Chief Kenton Rainey said Smith "exemplified the tradition" of the BART police department, commending the fallen officer for his leadership abilities.

"He gave his life for what he believed," Rainey told the more than 2,000 people in attendance. "It is our challenge to go out and live as Tommy lived. We will never forget."

Smith was accidentally shot by a fellow officer during a Jan. 21 search of a Dublin apartment. His was the first shooting death in the line of duty in the 42-year history of the BART police department.

The mood was somber at 10 a.m. Wednesday, when a casket covered with an American flag was carried from a hearse into the chapel, as bagpipes played and officers saluted and shed tears. Smith's wife, Kellie, held the hand of the couple's 6-year-old daughter, Summer, as they followed the casket carried by a group of pallbearers that included his two brothers and a brother-in-law, who are also Bay Area police officers.

His brother, Newark police Officer Patrick Smith, said "the world was a better place with Tommy in it."

"Stay safe, little brother," he said. "We love you and we'll miss you greatly."

The service, which included home videos of Smith and his family, came to a close at around 11:20 a.m. as a bugler played "Taps" and bagpipers played "Amazing Grace." A drizzle of rain came down as the coffin was carried out of the chapel. A California Highway Patrol flyover followed, before mourners gathered for a reception.

Gray skies and light rain at Neighborhood Church in Castro Valley for BART officer’s funeral.
Gray skies and light rain at Neighborhood Church in Castro Valley for BART officer's funeral. (Natalie Alund/Staff)

Law enforcement officers from across the Bay Area, the state and the nation packed two levels of the Neighborhood Church of Castro Valley to hear from speakers, including California Attorney General Kamala Harris, Alameda County Superior Court Judge Paul Delucchi and BART police Sgt. Jason Ledford. Gov. Jerry Brown was listed as a speaker but did not speak.

On Wednesday morning at 8:30 a.m., the funeral procession left Hayward's Chapel of the Chimes -- where a viewing was held Tuesday evening -- and passed by Hayward's Moreau Catholic High School, where Smith graduated in 1989, as about 180 students and staff members gathered in front of the school to honor Smith.

"Until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of his hand," read one of the banners the students had painted.

"Tommy was very much the life of our school," said Director of Alumni Relations Dani Lorta, who was a classmate of Smith's. "He won 'Most Spirited' our senior year; he was at all the events. I was heartbroken when I heard what had happened. I couldn't believe that somebody as vibrant as Tommy would be gone."

Senior Corinna Sanding never met Smith, but said they were part of the same Moreau family. "We all support Officer Tom and pray for him and his family," she said.

"We wanted to acknowledge his service," said Danielle Molina, also a senior at Moreau.

By 9 a.m., dozens of K-9 officers and their police dogs stood outside the chapel as hundreds of police officers and mourners walked by, umbrellas in hand, to take cover from a morning marked by drizzle and gray skies. Smith was a longtime K-9 officer who loved his retired police dog, Boris. His wife Kellie is also a K-9 handler for BART police. The couple met and fell in love while working at BART.

A few hours before the service, a dozen motorcycles from Warriors' Watch Riders rolled into the church parking lot with large American flags on the back of their bikes. Spike Schau said the group consists of former military and police officers and is part of a national organization.

"He is one of us," Schau said of Smith. "The only difference between police, fire and the military is a uniform and a different battleground. His life mattered."

His colleague and close friend, Ledford, said Smith was a family man.

"He loved Kellie and Summer more than words can express," Ledford said. "He truly loved his family time. Rest in peace, my friend. We'll miss you."

San Francisco police Officer Daniel Reyes, who had never met Smith, said the service was a reminder of the dangers of police work.

"It could have been any one of us," Reyes said. "My colleagues and I came to show support not only for him, but his family."

In her remarks, Attorney General Harris offered her condolences on behalf of "all of California law enforcement."

"Our prayers and deepest sympathies are with you," Harris said. "He was a man of honor and bravery and commitment."

Addressing Smith's daughter Summer, she added: "Your dad is a hero, and that is how the state of California will always remember him, as a hero."

Neighborhood Church pastor Vance Hunter, who opened the service, simply summed up the sadness of the day.

"Certainly this is a sad day; this is a tragic day," Hunter said. "Today we remember and honor Tommy, who made the ultimate sacrifice."

Staff writers Rebecca Parr and Kristin J. Bender contributed to this report.