The family of Andrea Rebello, a junior at Hofstra University who was accidentally shot and killed by a Nassau County police officer during a hostage standoff back in May, is now taking steps to sue Nassau County for wrongfully causing her death.
According to Newsday, paperwork was filed Friday in the wrongful death suit, which stemmed from a home invasion at Rebello’s off-campus house on California Avenue in Uniondale that she shared with her twin sister, Jessica, and friends. The front door was unlocked, and ex-convict Dalton Smith entered the home and demanded money and jewelry from the residents. One resident was sent to the ATM to withdraw money, and while out, she called the police. When the police arrived, Smith took Rebello hostage and held her in a headlock at gunpoint, and then turned the gun towards an officer who had entered the home.
The officer, Nikolas Budimlic, fired eight rounds, killing both Rebello and Smith.
Legal documents were also submitted on behalf of Jessica Rebello, who claims that she was wrongfully detained and “harassed, abused, and humiliated" by police officers just hours after her sister was killed. In the paperwork, she also asserts that she was detained in a police car for several hours, she was not alerted of her sister’s death, and that she was not allowed to call her parents.
The legal files also claimed that Budimlic was “unfit to serve as a police officer" and that he lacked training for handling hostage situations.
Nassau County Attorney John Ciampoli told Newsday that the Nassau Police Department offers condolences toward the family.
"It sounds to me like they were protecting her and had a material witness that they otherwise had a right to detain,” said Ciampoli.
It is unspecified how much either of the claims seek from the county in damages.