(HEMPSTEAD, N.Y.) — The Hofstra University junior killed during and armed home invasion of her off-campus house on Friday was accidently fatally shot by the responding officer, forensic investigators have concluded.
Police say Dalton Smith, a wanted man with a lengthy criminal history, was masked when he entered 21-year-old Andrea Rebello’s home Friday, demanding money and valuables from Rebello and her three roommates. When police arrived, Smith used Rebello as a human shield in an attempt to escape.
“He’s still got the gun to our victim’s head,” Nassau County Homicide Squad Police Lieutenant John Azzata explained. “Eventually menaces our police officer, points his gun at the police officer and at that point, the police officer fires several rounds.”
The officer, a 12 year decorated veteran of this department who served more than 7 years with the NYPD, fired eight shots. Seven of them hit Smith, but the eighth bullet hit Rebello in the head. Both were killed.
The officer is currently on sick leave.
Nassau County Police Commissioner Thomas Dale drove to the Tarrytown, New York, home of the students’ parents to tell them how she died.
“I felt obligated as a police commissioner and as a parent to inform them as soon as all the forensic results were completed,” said Dale.
Now, instead of celebrating Sunday’s graduation festivities at Hofstra University, friends and classmates held a memorial for Rebello.
“It’s really sad. She’s a very sweet girl, she doesn’t deserve this,” one student told ABC’s Linzie Janis. “I really have no words for this. It is so unbelievable. I didn’t think it was real.”
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
Matt McFarland, CNN
Debra Goldschmidt, CNN