Authorities: US student was killed by police

Print
Email
|

Associated Press

Posted on May 18, 2013 at 5:03 PM

Updated Saturday, May 18 at 11:35 PM

MINEOLA, New York (AP) — A New York college student being held in a headlock at gunpoint by an intruder was accidently shot and killed by a police officer who had responded to a report of the home invasion at an off-campus home, police said Saturday.

Andrea Rebello was shot once in the head Friday morning by an officer who opened fire after the masked intruder pointed a gun at the officer while holding the 21-year-old Hofstra University student in a headlock, Nassau County homicide squad Lt. John Azzata said.

In 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.

Azzata said the Nassau County police officer fired eight shots at Smith, who police described as having an "extensive" criminal background. Smith was hit 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 mm handgun with an obliterated serial number was found at the scene, police said.

Nassau County Police Commissioner Thomas Dale said he had traveled to Rebello's home to explain to Rebello's parents what happened.

"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.

Earlier Saturday, police announced that Smith, 30, was wanted on a parole violation related to a first-degree robbery conviction and had an arrest history dating back nearly 15 years.

The shooting, which took place just steps from campus, has cast a pall over the university community as it geared up for graduation ceremonies Sunday. A university spokeswoman said students will be handed white ribbons to wear in memory of Rebello.

Rebello, a public relations major, 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.

Smith, apparently 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 a cash machine, 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 police, according to Azzata.

Minutes 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.

One of 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.

Print
Email
|