The mother of a Hofstra student who died in a police shooting wants a judge to order authorities to disclose which Nassau County officer fired the bullet that accidentally killed her daughter, Andrea Rebello.
"As of today, no one from the Police Department has ever told me who shot the bullet that killed my daughter, who was in charge when she was shot or how it came to be that they did not wait for a hostage negotiator to come and try to save her," Nella Rebello said in a court affidavit filed Wednesday.
The State Supreme Court filing is part of the family's effort to get details from authorities in preparation for filing a wrongful-death lawsuit against Nassau County and its police force in connection with the 21-year-old's death in May.
Authorities have said an officer answering a call about a home invasion at Rebello's Uniondale rental home fired his gun after confronting Dalton Smith, a 30-year-old ex-convict from Hempstead.
At the time, Smith had a gun to Rebello's head while holding her in a headlock, according to authorities. The officer fired after Smith pointed a gun at him, and the gunfire struck and killed Rebello and Smith, according to police, who haven't publicly revealed the officer's name. Law enforcement sources have identified the officer as Nikolas Budimlic.
Budimlic's last name does appear in records showing which officers were at the shooting scene that the county recently provided to Rebello lawyer David Roth. Court records show that in early January, Roth got a copy of a four-page police time log with that information.
Nassau County spokeswoman Katie Grilli-Robles Thursday declined to comment on the filing because litigation is pending.
Court papers from the county on Jan. 8 ask the judge to deny Nella Rebello's requests, arguing in part that the petitioners already have access to a lot of evidence and more disclosures would interfere with the ongoing police probe.
Authorities said the incident began when a gun-carrying Smith barged into the off-campus unit Rebello shared with her twin sister and others, demanding cash and valuables while taking the students hostage.
In Wednesday's filing, Roth asks a judge to order the county to produce police witnesses he can question about what happened at the scene. It also asks the judge to order the county to preserve all evidence, and requests that experts for the Rebellos be allowed to inspect it.
In her affidavit, Nella Rebello described waiting several hours in a police station before being able to identify her daughter's remains at the morgue. "They let us believe, without actually saying it, that it was the person who had taken her hostage that had killed her," she said.
The mother said police came to her Westchester home a day later and told her it was an officer's bullet that killed her daughter. She said they gave her a photo of Smith and a copy of his criminal record, but no name or photo of the officer.