A Long Island police officer accidentally shot and killed a college student while responding to a home invasion robbery Friday night, new sources reported.
The Nassau County officer didn't know he was entering a hostage situation when he entered the woman's home and was forced to make a quick decision when the armed suspect was using a young woman as a shield, authorities said Sunday, according to The Wall Street Journal.
The officer fired eight times after the suspect, Dalton Smith, raised his gun, authorities said. One of the bullets hit and killed Andrea Rebello, a 21-year-old Hofstra University student, The Wall Street Journal reported.
Because the officer didn't know of the hostages in the home, the situation might have been mishandled, experts say, The New York Times reported.
The officer's decision to immediately open fire likely eliminated the opportunity to negotiate with the gunman, said Eugene O'Donnell, a professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice and a former New York City police officer, according to The New York Times.
"You arrive, secure the location and you really essentially buy time if you can; you call for negotiators," said O'Donnell in an interview with The New York Times.
Police did not identify the officer, who is now on sick-leave, according to news sources.