UNIONDALE - News that the slain suspect in the deadly Hofstra University home invasion was an ex-con in violation of his parole has local officials and residents alike wondering why he was out on the streets.
Dalton Smith, of Hempstead, has been identified as the masked gunman who entered a home rented by college students and demanded valuables. A Nassau County police officer who responded to the scene fatally shot Smith and a 21-year-old college student.
Investigators say Smith spent the majority of the last 13 years in prison after convictions for felony weapons charges, assault and promoting contraband. He had just been released on parole in February, but a warrant for his arrest was issued on April 23 after he violated the terms of his parole. He failed to make contact with his parole officer and left his approved residence, and officials say they were trying to track down leads on his whereabouts.
Authorities say that just three weeks later, he busted into the Uniondale home and demanded cash and jewelry at gunpoint from terrified college students.
Nassau Legislator Wayne Wink, a member of Nassau's Public Safety Committee, is looking for answers. "We need to know what kind of tracking they do on parolees that may have been missed in this instance," he told News 12 Long Island.
The Parole Officers' Union issued a statement saying that it’s "severely understaffed" in the parole supervisory department.
According to the website for the state Department of Corrections and Community Supervision, there are a total of 2,658 men and women on parole on Long Island, and just 52 parole officers charged with keeping tabs on them.
The Nassau County Police Department is performing an internal investigation into the deadly incident.