A 21-year-old Hofstra student was accidentally killed by police during a home invasion on the morning of May 17. Andrea Rebello was being held at gunpoint by Dalton Smith, 30, when she was accidentally shot by one of the officers. Rebello lived in off-campus housing in Uniondale with her twin sister and two others. The news came as a complete shock to the close-knit Hofstra community. Devastated, students have spend the last several days trying to make sense of why and how this happened.
Two Nassau County police officers responded to the scene early Friday morning. One officer entered the home where he found Smith holding Rebello in a headlock, pointing a gun at her head as he was coming down the stairs. Smith informed the officer he was going to kill her, which is when he turned his gun on the police officer. Fearing for his life, the police officer opened fire.
In total, eight shots were fired, seven hit Smith and one struck and killed Rebello. The police officer has been placed on sick leave following the incident. The name of the police officer has not been released by Nassau County, but the police commissioner Thomas Dale personally delivered the news to Rebello’s family that it had been a police officer’s weapon that had killed their daughter.
The man responsible for the armed invasion had a warrant out for his arrest. That warrant was put out on April 25 and stemmed from Smith jumping parole. The intruder had a long wrap sheet which included charges of first-degree robbery and assault. Smith had originally entered the home demanding valuables but was not satisfied with what the girls offered him, which is when he instructed one of them to leave and go to an ATM. Instead her twin sister Jessica called police.
News of Rebello’s death has devastated both the Hofstra University community and members of the town she grew up in. The Rebello family lives in Westchester, New York. Rebello was in her third-year studying public relations at Hofstra. The University will offer counseling to students and released the following statement: "Our hearts and minds and our thoughts and prayers are with her family, her friends and her classmates."
The family has planned a funeral mass for Wednesday. Graduating students at Hofstra University wore white ribbons in her memory and observed a moment of silence at graduation ceremonies on Sunday, May 19. The family has planned a funeral mass for Wednesday.
We extend our deepest condolences to her family, friends, and the Hofstra University community.