UNIONDALE, N.Y. - A Long Island district attorney has cleared a police officer of criminal charges after he fatally shot a college student from Tarrytown during an armed home invasion last year.
Andrea Rebello, a student at Hofstra University, was held at gunpoint during an armed break-in at her off-campus house last May. According to officer Nikolas Budimlic, he entered the home without knowing his partner was not with him. He says the alleged intruder, Dalton Smith, was using Rebello as a human shield and pointed the gun at him. Budimlic says he ordered Smith to put down the gun and let Rebello go several times and eventually fired twice when Smith lost his balance and lost control of Rebello.
With Smith still alive and holding his gun, Budimlic says he fired six more times. One of the bullets struck Rebello in the head, killing her. Smith was also killed by the gunfire. Rebello's twin sister, Jessica, and two other residents managed to get out safely.
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The Nassau County DA says the entire situation developed and escalated in a matter of minutes and police officers do not have a duty to retreat when threatened with deadly physical force. The report concluded Smith was to blame for Rebello's death.
Budimlic, a 20-year veteran, is now working in an administrative role. Rebello's family has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Nassau County and its police department.