Family of student killed in police shooting settles lawsuits

MINEOLA, N.Y. (AP) — The family of a Hofstra University student killed by police while being used as a human shield in a 2013 off-campus shooting has settled a pair of lawsuits for $4.5 million.

Andrea Rebello, 21, of Tarrytown, New York, was fatally shot by an officer during a botched home invasion that also killed the gunman.

Rebello's family accused the department of negligence and said the officer acted "recklessly and unnecessarily" when he fatally shot Rebello and her hostage-taker. The family also said officers were not properly trained and supervised on how to handle hostage cases.

The Nassau County Legislature on Monday voted to approve the payouts.

"Today's settlement was recommended as being in the county's best interest to resolve a difficult and awful tragedy," County Attorney Carnell Foskey said.

Rebello family attorney David Roth confirmed the settlement but did not add any comment.

A county prosecutor ruled in 2014 that the officer, Nikolas Budimlic, had no option but deadly force.

Former District Attorney Kathleen Rice concluded the woman's death was caused by a gunman breaking into her home, taking several residents hostage and refusing to surrender to police.

After entering the house, the officer encountered Dalton Smith holding Rebello in a headlock. Smith maneuvered down a flight of stairs and was attempting to leave with the young woman through a rear door, yelling expletives at police officers and threatening to shoot the student.

Smith, 30, had been on parole for his involvement in an armed robbery, according to Rice's report. An arrest warrant had been issued for him about three weeks before the fatal shooting occurred. Smith also had prior convictions for attempted robbery and weapons possession.

The victim's twin sister, Jessica Rebello, also had been inside the house but was not injured in the shooting, which occurred days before commencement.