MINEOLA, N.Y. — The president of a New York police union defended an officer who accidentally killed a Hofstra University student during a standoff with an armed intruder, saying Tuesday the only person responsible for the woman’s death was the gunman who held her hostage.
“There is some second guessing by people who think we should have stayed outside the house, but our job is to get inside and make sure we can protect as many people as we can,” said James Carver, president of the Nassau County Patrolman’s Benevolent Association.
Investigators say Andrea Rebello was being held in a headlock by Dalton Smith last week when he pointed his weapon at the officer, prompting the officer to open fire.
Rebello was killed by one of eight shots fired by the officer. Smith also was killed.
The officer, who has not been named, is on sick leave while authorities investigate.
“The officer sends his thoughts and prayers to the victim,” Carver said. “He is a religious man and has a strong family background, and he has a lot of support from his family and friends. And that is what he needs right now.”
In Tarrytown, friends gathered at a wake for Rebello on Tuesday night. The funeral is today.
Patty Neuwirth, who knows Rebello’s father, said she sympathized with everyone involved, including the police officer.
Others have asked whether officers should have waited for help from a hostage negotiating team.