Students at Hofstra University wore white ribbons at their graduation ceremony today to honor a fellow student who was accidentally killed by a police officer responding to a home invasion call.
Andrea Rebello, a 21-year-old Hofstra University junior, was killed Friday when police confronted an armed intruder at the off-campus rental house she shared with her twin sister and two other students on Long Island, N.Y.
The suspect, Dalton Smith, 30, entered the home when someone went outside to move a car around 2 a.m. on Friday, according to police.
Smith was apparently unsatisfied with the valuables in the home and sent one of the Rebello's roommates to an ATM, said Detective Lt. John Azzata of the Nassau County Police Department.
"He said if she wasn't back in eight minutes, he'd kill one of the individuals in the house," Azzata said.
The roommate called 911, Azzata said, and two officers were dispatched to the scene.
An officer entered the two-story home and found Smith holding Rebello in a headlock at gunpoint, Azzata said. When the suspect pointed the gun at the officer, he said the two exchanged fire.
"The officer eventually fired eight rounds in total," Azzata said. "Seven of those rounds struck our subject, one of those rounds struck the victim."
Rebello and Smith were both pronounced dead.
On Saturday, after forensics investigators concluded the bullet of the police officer killed Rebello, Nassau County Police Commissioner Thomas Dale went to the Rebello family home in Tarrytown, N.Y., about 40 miles from the college residence, to deliver the news.
"I felt obligated as a police commissioner and as a parent to inform them as soon as all the forensic results were completed," he said.
The officer who fired the fatal shot has not been publicly identified. Dale said the officer, who is currently on sick leave, spent about 12 years on the force in Nassau County and has previous experience as a New York City police officer.
Following standard procedure, Dale said the officer will be the focus of an internal investigation when the criminal probe is completed.
Rebello's funeral is scheduled for Wednesday in Sleepy Hollow, N.Y.
The Associated Press contributed reporting.