Investigators: Andrea Rebello, student in Hofstra home invasion, was accidentally shot by police

Nassau County police say that the Hofstra University student who was fatally shot during an armed home invasion near campus was struck by a bullet

Hofstra University junior Andrea Rebello was killed during an armed home invasion at an off-campus residence in Uniondale on May 17, 2013. She was 21.
<a href=Newsday's obituary for Andrea Rebello
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Hofstra University junior Andrea Rebello was killed during an armed home invasion at an off-campus residence in Uniondale on May 17, 2013. She was 21. Newsday's obituary for Andrea Rebello
(5/19/13)

UNIONDALE - Nassau County police say that the Hofstra University student who was fatally shot during an armed home invasion near campus was struck by a bullet that was fired by police.

Andrea Rebello, 21, was struck in the head as police attempted to subdue an armed robbery suspect, who has been identified as 30-year-old Dalton Smith, of Hempstead.

Investigators held a news conference Saturday night to discuss the findings of their investigation.

Police say it was shortly after 2 a.m. on Friday when the residents of the off-campus rental house on California Avenue returned home. A male occupant of the house, who hasn't been identified, retrieved his keys from the home's second floor and was about to move his vehicle.

The front door had been left open, and police say it appears to have been a "crime of opportunity."

Police say the male resident returned downstairs with his keys to find an armed man wearing a ski mask inside the home, who has been identified as Smith. Police say Smith pointed his gun at the man and directed him to sit down on a sofa in the home's living room, where two female residents of the home were already seated.

Investigators say Smith demanded money, jewelry and valuables from the residents of the home, and they replied that all of their belongings were upstairs. Police say everyone was forced upstairs at gunpoint. The residents turned over a small amount of cash, so Smith demanded to know if anyone had a bank account.

One female resident of the home said that she did, and police say Smith told her she could leave to withdraw money from a nearby bank. He told her to return within eight minutes or one of her housemates would be shot, according to police.

The woman left the home and called 911 on the way. Police responded to the home within minutes. According to investigators, Smith demanded that another woman in the home answer the door and tell the police that everything was fine. Instead, the woman ran outside and screamed that there was a gunman inside the home.

That's when police entered the home, according to investigators. They saw Smith order the home's male occupant onto the ground at gunpoint. The male fell down the stairs. Smith put Rebello into a headlock and walked her down the stairs at gunpoint, police say. He kept her close to his body and tried to escape through a back door, but was met by police who had entered the home.

Police say Smith made a menacing motion and pointed his gun at the officers, prompting them to fire. A total of eight shots were fired, seven of which struck Smith, killing him.

Officials say one bullet struck Rebello in the head. She was hospitalized and pronounced dead.

The officer who opened fire hasn't been identifed by Nassau police officials, but is described as a 12-year veteran of the force who previously spent seven or eight years on the NYPD.

Upon investigation, police discovered that Smith's gun had one bullet in the chamber and one in the magazine. The serial number had been scratched off, so police say they have not been able to trace it.

Police say Smith had an extensive criminal record. He had been on parole for first-degree robbery at the time of the shooting, and had previously been arrested for robbery, promoting contraband, assault and absconding from parole, according to police.

Students held a vigil last night for Rebello, and a moment of silence was held for her this morning at Hofstra's commencement ceremony, which went on as planned.

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