A Nassau County police officer whose shots killed an armed hostage taker as well as the hostage won't face charges, the district attorney announced.
District Attorney Kathleen Rice on Wednesday issued a detailed report based on numerous interviews, ballistics analysis, the crime scene investigation, and more about the May 17, 2013, armed home invasion and shooting at a house near the Hofstra University campus. In the report, Rice concludes that Police Officer Nikolas Budlimic should not be prosecuted.
The officer responded to a 911 call about a break-in at the house where he found Dalton Smith, 30, holding Andrea Rebello, 21, a Hofstra student, in a headlock and threatening to kill her, the report said. When Smith pointed a gun at Budlimic, the cop fired eight shots, killing both Smith and Rebello. Smith was hit seven times and Rebello once, in the head.
The report concludes that the officer was justified in using deadly force against Smith because of the immediate deadly threat he posed.
"Tragically, one bullet struck Andrea Rebello, who ultimately died from her injuries. Nevertheless, it is clear that Officer Budimlic's intention was to shoot Smith and not Andrea Rebello," the report reads. "While her death is tragic, the law regarding justification is clear: a justification defense is applicable to any use of force, even if that use has unintended consequences."
The report places the blame for Rebello's death squarely on Smith and "his decision to invade a residence in the early hours of the morning; to rob at gunpoint the occupants of that house; to take hostage all of the residents; to repeatedly threaten to kill them (and various police officers, including Budimlic); to use Andrea Rebello as a human shield; and to ignore multiple orders from uniformed police officers to drop his gun and release his hostages."The Nassau Police Department would not comment on the report because of a pending lawsuit, the AP reported.
The district attorney released a brief statement with the report.
"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 the statement. "My thoughts and prayers are with Andrea Rebello's family and friends as they continue to cope with this heartbreaking loss."
At the time of the shooting, Budlimic was an eight-year veteran with the Nassau County force. Before that, he served 12 years with the NYPD.
Rebello was from Westchester County. Her twin sister was inside the house during the incident.