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Hofstra student killed by police during break-in
MINEOLA, N.Y. (AP) — In what police are describing as a crime of opportunity, a wanted man with a criminal history dating back nearly 15 years entered a front door that had been left open at a New York home near Hofstra University.
A short time later, the intruder, Dalton Smith, and a 21-year-old college junior, Andrea Rebello, were both dead. The two were killed early Friday by a Nassau County police officer who fired eight shots at the masked man, hitting him seven times but also accidentally hitting Ms. Rebello once in the head, Nassau County homicide squad Lt. John Azzata said Saturday.
“He kept saying, ‘I’m going to kill her,’ and then he pointed the gun at the police officer,” Lt. Azzata said.
A loaded 9 mm handgun with a serial number scratched off was found at the scene, police said.
“I felt obligated as a police commissioner and as a parent to inform them as soon as all the forensic results were completed,” Commissioner Dale said.
The veteran police officer, who was not identified, has about 12 years of experience on the Nassau County force and previously spent several years as a New York City police officer, Commissioner Dale said.
The officer is currently out on sick leave. He will be the focus of an internal police investigation once the criminal investigation is completed, which is standard police procedure in any officer-involved shooting, the commissioner said.
The shooting came just days before the school’s commencement ceremonies, which are scheduled for Sunday.
A university spokeswoman said students will be handed white ribbons to wear in memory of Ms. Rebello. The shooting, which took place just steps from campus, has cast a pall over the university community as it geared up for graduation.
Earlier Saturday, police announced that Smith, 30, had been wanted on a parole violation related to a first-degree robbery conviction. A warrant was issued for him on April 25 for absconding from parole, police said.
Smith had what police described as “an extensive criminal history,” which included arrests for robbery in the first degree in 1999, promoting prison contraband in the second degree in 2000, robbery in the first degree in 2003, assault in the second degree in 2003 and robbery in the second degree in 2003.
Ms. Rebello was in the two-story home in Uniondale, N.Y., 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, Lt. Azzata said.
The door was left open after someone had moved a car that was blocking a driveway, Lt. Azzata said.
Smith, apparently unsatisfied with the valuables upstairs, asked if any of the four had a bank account and could withdraw money, Lt. Azzata said. The intruder then allowed the unidentified woman to leave and collect money from an ATM, telling her she had only eight minutes to come back with cash before he killed one of her friends, Lt. Azzata said.
The woman left for the bank and called 911, according to Lt. Azzata.
One of the officers entered the home and encountered Smith holding onto Ms. Rebello in a headlock, coming down the stairs, Lt. Azzata said. Smith pulled Ms. Rebello closer and started moving backward toward a rear door of the house, pointing the gun at her head before eventually threatening the officer, Lt. Azzata said.
Father Franklin said a funeral is scheduled for Wednesday at Teresa of Avila Church in Sleepy Hollow, N.Y., and will be in Portuguese.
“The family’s a very good family; they have very good values,” he said. “They are a very good, very devoted family.”
• Associated Press writer Jake Pearson in New York contributed to this article.
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