Hofstra University student Junior Andrea Rebello, 21, was shot in the head by a police officer in a case of “friendly fire” while held by Dalton Smith, a man who had invaded her home to rob it. Dalton held her hostage early Friday, according to a police spokesperson yesterday.
Junior Andrea Rebello lived in Uniondale in an off-campus house with her twin sister while attending college.
Tragically, one of eight shots fired by the police officer, resulted in her death. The veteran officer was there in an effort to rescue the young Hofstra University coed’s life, but ended up tragically ending it.
According to the Nassau County police, Dalton Smith, 30, kept saying, “I’m going to kill her,” while using Rebello as a human shield. While he had her in a headlock, he then pointed his gun at the police officer, and the officer opened fire.
Smith was a career criminal, ex-con and parole absconder, according to Detective Lieutenant John Azzata. His police record included at least three prior charges of robbery. At the time of his death, Smith was wanted for violating his parole, due to a conviction of first-degree robbery.
When Smith entered the Hofstra University student’s residence with the intent to rob it, he was wearing dark clothes and a ski mask. He also had with him a 9mm pistol with one bullet in the chamber and one in the magazine.
Dalton Smith never got a shot off, but by pointing his pistol at the officer, he was acting in a threatening manner.
Seven of the police officer’s eight bullets hit Dalton Smith, who also died.
The unidentified 12 year plus veteran officer, who previously had served more than seven years with the NYPD, was unharmed in the incident. According to an official in the police department, his decorations include the medal of honor.
Nassau County Police Commissioner Thomas Dale said “We’re going to make sure he receives counseling and appropriate medical attention if he needs it.” Officials also said he will undergo an internal investigation.
Flags on campus were at half-staff and students held a silent outdoor vigil Saturday evening in front of a photo of Andrea Rebllo.
Hofstra University’s graduation ceremony was held Sunday. Students wore white ribbons at their graduation ceremony in memory of Rebello.
The graduation ceremony was just two days after Andrea Rebello died from her gunshot injury.
Andrea’s funeral service will be in Portuguese. It will be held on Wednesday, at Teresa of Avila Church in Sleepy Hollow, New York. Reverend Osvaldo Franklin, who has known the family for years, will perform the ceremony. Franklin gave Andrea her first communion.
He said Andrea’s family is “a very good family, they have very good values … they are a very good, very devoted family.”
Written by: Douglas R. Cobb