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Police defend officer who shot N.Y. college student

Hofstra student Andrea Rebello was accidentally killed by a police officer firing at a hostage taker.

Sleepy Hollow High School/AP

Hofstra student Andrea Rebello was accidentally killed by a police officer firing at a hostage taker.

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 that 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.

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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.

As Rebello’s family prepared for her funeral, some are questioning whether officers should have confronted the gunman or waited for help from a hostage negotiating team.

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