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A police officer in New York’s Nassau County shot both a suspected criminal and his victim, during a burglary near Hofstra University, Friday (May 17).  A single gunshot wound to the head killed a 21-year-old college student being held hostage alongside her identical twin sister and two others, authorities announced a day later.

Andrea Rebello was held  at gunpoint by Dalton Smith, who broke into the off-campus home she shared with her sister, and others. The students were celebrating the end of the school semester which officially wrapped up Sunday (May 19). Smith held the women, before letting one leave to go to the ATM. Once outside the woman immediately phoned cops, who arrived at the location a minute later.

Police fired eight shots at Smith, seven of which struck and killed him. When they arrived to the home, the suspected burglar was holding a gun to Rebello’s head, but never actually shot at cops.

The officer responsible for the victim fatality fired because he was in fear for his life. He has yet to be identified, but is a 12-year veteran of the force, and has been placed on leave pending an investigation into the shooting.

Commissioner Thomas Dale personally informed Rebello’s family that an officer killed the college junior, who was studying public relations at Hofstra. “I felt obligated as a police commissioner and as a parents to inform them as soon as all the forensic results were complete,” Dale said.

Smith, 30, had a long criminal history, most of which were burglary charges. A warrant was issued for his arrest last month over parole violation. He entered the home Friday night through a door left open by someone who went outside to move a parked car. Demanding valuables, Smith was reportedly unsatisfied with what was offered to him, and let a victim leave to bring back cash.

Neighbors heard the entire incident go down. “I heard scream and I told my boyfriend, I said ‘I think someone just got murdered’ by the way the scream was, that was so awful,” said one witness.

Twin sister, Jessica Rebello, is said to be devastated by the loss. “She’s just crying,” said Rev. Osvaldo Franklin, who gave the twins their first communion. “We have to pray for Andrea, to pray for Jessica because she needs help.”

A funeral will be held for the victim on Wednesday (May 22).

Photo: ABC News