Mineola, NY-- A Hofstra University student being held at gunpoint by an intruder
was accidentally shot and killed by a police officer who had responded
to the home invasion at an off-campus home, police said Saturday.
public relations major Andrea Rebello was shot once in the head early
Friday morning by an officer who opened fire after the masked intruder
pointed a gun at the officer while holding the 21-year-old in a
headlock, Nassau County homicide squad Lt. John Azzata said.
a tense confrontation with the officer, gunman Dalton Smith "menaces
our police officer, points his gun at the police officer," Azzata said.
The officer opened fire, killing Smith and his hostage.
said the Nassau County police officer fired eight shots at Smith, who
police described as having an "extensive" criminal background. Smith was
hit by seven times and died. Rebello was shot once in the head.
"He kept saying, `I'm going to kill her,' and then he pointed the gun at the police officer," Azzata said.
A loaded 9-milimeter handgun with an obliterated serial number was found at the scene, police said.
County Police Commissioner Thomas Dale said he had traveled to
Rebello's Tarrytown, N.Y., home to explain to Rebello's parents what
"I felt obligated as a police commissioner and
as a parent to inform them as soon as all the forensic results were
completed," Dale said.
The veteran police officer, who
was not identified, has about 12 years of experience on the Nassau
County police force and previously spent several years as a New York
City police officer, Dale said.
The officer is currently
out on sick leave. He will be the focus of an internal police
investigation once the criminal investigation is completed, which is
standard police procedure in any officer-involved shooting, the
Earlier Saturday, police announced
that Smith, 30, had been wanted on a parole violation related to a
first-degree robbery conviction and had an arrest history dating back
nearly 15 years.
The shooting came just days before the school's commencement ceremonies, which are scheduled to take place Sunday.
university spokeswoman said students will be handed white ribbons to
wear in memory of Rebello. The shooting, which took place just steps
from campus, has cast a pall over the university community as it geared
up for commencement on Sunday.
"Today is the last day of
finals and this should be a happy day on campus; but it's not," Hofstra
freshman Scott Aharoni of Great Neck, said Friday as he passed through
the area rife with yellow crime-scene tape. "It's really sad."
was in the two-story home with her twin sister Jessica, a third woman
and a man when Smith, wearing a ski mask, walked into the house through
an open front door, Azzata said. Smith demanded valuables and was told
they were upstairs, Azzata said.
unsatisfied with the valuables upstairs, asked if any of the four had a
bank account and could withdraw money, Azzata said. The intruder then
allowed the unidentified woman to leave and collect money from an ATM,
telling her she had only eight minutes to come back with cash before he
killed one of her friends, Azzata said.
The woman left for the bank and called 911, according to Azzata.
later, two police officers arrived at the home and found Rebello's twin
sister Jessica running out of the front door and the male guest hiding
behind a couch on the first floor, Azzata said.
the officers entered the home and encountered Smith holding onto Rebello
in a headlock, coming down the stairs, Azzata said. Smith pulled
Rebello closer and started moving backward toward a rear door of the
house, pointing the gun at her head before eventually threatening the
officer, Azzata said.
Rebello's family declined comment Saturday.
Rev. Osvaldo Franklin, who gave Rebello and her sister Jessica their
first communions, on Saturday night told The Associated Press their
mother, Nella, couldn't even speak to him earlier in the day.
was so devastated," said Franklin. "She's just crying. We have to pray
for Andrea, to pray for Jessica because she needs help."
Franklin said a funeral is scheduled for Wednesday at Teresa of Avila Church in Sleepy Hollow, N.Y., and will be in Portuguese.
family's a very good family, they have very good values," he said. "I
gave them first communion to Andrea and Jessica and they started to help
me in the mass for many years. They are a very good, very devoted