Skip to main content

Officer cleared in fatal shooting of Hofstra University student

By Rande Iaboni, CNN
updated 6:40 PM EDT, Wed April 2, 2014
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Hofstra University student Andrea Rebello, 21, was killed by police gunfire during a home invasion
  • Home intruder, Dalton Smith, 30, was also shot and killed by officer
  • Officer "acted accordingly" and is cleared of wrongdoing, report says

(CNN) -- The police officer who fatally shot a Hofstra University student as she was being held at gunpoint by an intruder has been cleared of any wrongdoing, according to a report released Wednesday by the Nassau County District Attorney's office in New York.

Officer Nikolas Budimlic "reasonably perceived threats of deadly force against himself and others and acted accordingly," the report concluded.

The 28-page investigative report, which includes interviews with police officers and civilian witnesses, as well as forensic evidence, was ordered by District Attorney Kathleen M. Rice after Budimlic opened fire and killed both the armed home intruder and the student in May.

The intruder, Delton Smith, 30, was fatally shot seven times by Budimlic, according to the report.

The student, Andrea Rebello, 21, whom Smith had in a headlock at the time, was shot once in the head by Budimlic. She later died of her injuries at Nassau University Medical Center, the report said.

"Smith ignored numerous commands to drop his weapon and repeated his threats to shoot both Andrea Rebello and Officer Budimlic," the report said. "Officer Budimlic clearly and reasonably believed that the use of deadly physical force was necessary to defend himself and Andrea Rebello and, on this basis, made the decision to discharge his weapon."

Smith, wearing a hoodie and a black ski mask, invaded the home Rebello shared with her twin sister and two others during the pre-dawn hours of May 17, the report said. He told the occupants he was there to enforce the repayment of $10,000 they owed to a "Russian guy," the report said.

Rebello and the other three were forced upstairs where Smith demanded their valuables, including jewelry and electronics. Smith also had one of Rebello's roommates travel to a nearby ATM to retrieve cash, the report said. The roommate called 911.

Budimlic and three other officers were the first to respond. Budimlic was the only officer to enter the residence, which led to the standoff with Smith.

Despite repeated commands to drop the gun and let Rebello go, Smith repeatedly threatened to kill Budimlic and Rebello while alternately pointing his gun at each of them.

According to Budimlic's account, included in the report, the officer noticed a change in Smith's tone and demeanor, describing it as "more tense and desperate."

Budimlic described seeing Rebello turn her body away from Smith, leaving a larger portion of the suspect's body exposed, the report said. Budimlic fired twice. When Smith let go of Rebello -- who was struck by one of the shots -- Budimlic fired an additional six shots, according to the report.

The Nassau County Medical Examiner's office determined that Rebello died from a single gunshot wound to the head. The bullet entered behind her right ear. Smith died of multiple gunshot wounds.

"The incident last year was a tragedy for the Rebello family and a reminder of just how difficult and dangerous police work can be," Rice said in a statement Wednesday. "My thoughts and prayers are with Andrea Rebello's family and friends as they continue to cope with this heartbreaking loss."

Hofstra University declined to comment on the report.

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT