A New York college student being held by an armed intruder was shot and killed by a police officer who had responded to a report of a home invasion at an off-campus home, police said on Saturday.
Andrea Rebello was shot once in the head on 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 Lieutenant 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. 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.
Nassau County Police Commissioner Thomas Dale said he had traveled to Rebello’s home to explain to Rebello’s parents what happened.
Earlier on 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 has cast a pall over the university community as it geared up for graduation ceremonies yesterday.
Rebello 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, asked if any of the four 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 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, Azzata said.
Minutes later, two police officers arrived at the home and found Rebello’s twin sister Jessica running out of the front door and Smith hiding behind a couch on the first floor, Azzata said.
One of the officers entered the home and encountered Smith holding Rebello in a headlock, Azzata said. Smith pulled Rebello closer and started moving backward toward a rear door of the house, pointing the gun at her head before threatening the officer, Azzata added.