The Nassau County police officer and father of two, Nikolas Budimlic, who accidentally shot and killed 21-year-old Andrea Rebello during a hostage standoff at an off-campus home near Hofstra University Friday night is said to be “inconsolable.” A source told the New York Post, “He blames himself and keeps replaying it in his mind. He is torn up about the poor girl.”
The tragedy happened when Rebello, her twin sister and two friends came home after a night at a local bar celebrating the end of the school year. According to ABC News around 2:00 a.m. 20-year-old Dalton Smith, who was recently released on parole, entered the home wearing a ski mask and armed with a pistol. He demanded money, jewelry and other valuables, but not satisfied with what they were offering him, allowed one of the girls to leave the house and go to an ATM for cash. He told her that if she didn’t return in eight minutes, he would kill someone in the house.
She left the home and immediately called the police, who arrived within minutes. However, the first two officers to arrive became separated. When Budimlic came face to face with Smith holding Rebello in a headlock at gunpoint, Smith turned the gun on him, and Budimlic made a split-second, life-changing decision. He fired eight shots. Seven shots hit Smith, but one struck Rebello, killing her. Both were pronounced dead at the scene.
On Saturday, forensics determined that the shot which killed Rebello came from Budimlic’s service weapon. Police Commissioner Thomas Dale went to the Rebello’s residence to break the news. “I felt obligated as a police commissioner and as a parent to inform them,” he said.
As is standard protocol when there is an officer involved shooting, Budimlic will be part of an internal investigation following the criminal investigation.
Students at the private university in Hempstead, New York wore white ribbons and observed a moment of silence at their graduation Sunday, in memory of the Rebello, whose funeral was held today in Sleepy Hollow, north of New York City.