A Hofstra University senior whose girlfriend was killed by a police bullet during an off-campus hostage standoff in May says he’s no longer willing to cooperate with the investigation into her death because he and his lawyer believe police are trying to make him a “scapegoat.”Bradley Wilson, 22, of upstate Middletown, said in his first extensive interview since Andrea Rebello’s death that he stopped speaking to Nassau police after officers were aggressive and accusatory in the hours following her death even though he hadn’t been there when the shooting happened and had no connection at all to the case.
Nassau police have said that on May 17, ex-convict Dalton Smith walked through an unlocked door into the rental home on California Avenue in Uniondale where Rebello lived with her sister and two other students and demanded money and jewelry.
Smith ordered a female resident to leave and withdraw cash from a bank, and said he would kill someone in the home if she did not return within eight minutes, police said. While at the bank, the woman called 911.
Officer Nikolas Budimlic, a 12-year veteran of the Nassau police force, entered the home and fired eight rounds after confronting Smith, 30, as the Hempstead man held Rebello, 21, in a chokehold, police said. Bullets from his gun killed both Smith and Rebello, police have said.
“When they were questioning me they seemed like they were very angry or something — like they were trying to make a connection between me and the guy [who took her hostage]. They said, ‘Do you know of anything bad that goes on here? Do you know anything about drugs, or do you do drugs?’ And I don’t.” They tried to question him again at Rebello’s wake, he said, but he avoided them.
Wilson said he believes that police would like to muddy Rebello’s name and his to make it appear that they brought the tragedy on themselves.
“The way they were acting just didn’t seem like it was the right way to go about it, especially after I found out it was the cop who shot her,” he said.
Nassau police spokesman Insp. Kenneth Lack declined to comment on the case and Wilson’s allegations, saying it is an ongoing investigation.