Hostage victim mistakenly killed by police in Hempstead, N.Y.

May 19, 2013 at 8:15 AM

HEMPSTEAD, N.Y., May 19 (UPI) -- A Hempstead, N.Y., police officer shot and killed a 21-year-old Hofstra University student while aiming for the man holding her hostage, officials said.

Dalton Smith, 30, of Hempstead, N.Y., forced his way into the home of Andrea Rebello and her twin sister, Jessica, Friday in an apparent robbery attempt, Nassau County police said.

A person who was in the home at the time of the robbery managed to escape and alerted police to the home invasion, The New York Times reported Saturday.

Believing the home to be empty of all but the intruder, police entered the residence and found Smith attempting to leave out the back door with Andrea Rebello in a headlock. Smith had a gun pointed to the student's head, then aimed at a police officer, whose name was not reported.

"At that point, the police officer fires several rounds," Detective Lt. John Azzata said Saturday. "Seven of those rounds struck our subject; one of those rounds struck the victim."

Andrea Rebello was transported to the hospital where she died of a head wound, The Times said.

Her funeral is set for Wednesday in Tarrytown, N.Y., the newspaper said.

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