NEW YORK -- A Hofstra University student being held hostage during a home invasion was shot dead and her captor was also killed as police arrived at the scene of the break-in early Friday, just two days before commencement ceremonies at the college on Long Island.
Police in Nassau County were investigating who fired the shots that killed the 21-year-old captive, who was a junior at the university, and her captor.
The horror began unfolding at about 2:20 a.m., according to Inspector Kenneth Lack of the Nassau County Police Department. Lack told reporters a gunman wearing a black ski mask and carrying a handgun forced his way into the house, where four Hofstra students lived.
"During the course of the robbery, the suspect let one of the female victims go from the house," said Lack. She immediately called 911, and police responded. "Upon arrival, there was a shooting that took place in which the suspect was killed and one female victim was killed," Lack said.
The house where the killings occurred is just a few hundred feet from the Hofstra campus on a street where many students rent homes during the academic year.
Local media identified the victim as Andrea Rebello, 21, and said her twin sister, Jessica, was among those in the house when the invasion occurred. Jessica was not harmed. On Friday, a police car was parked outside the Rebello family's home in Tarrytown, a northern suburb of New York City in Westchester County.
Hofstra University President Stuart Rabinowitz posted a notice on the university's website confirming that the slain woman was a student there. "We do not yet know all of the relevant details," he said. "What we do know is that a young member of the Hofstra family has been taken from us in a senseless act of violence.
"While our hearts are laden with grief, this weekend's commencement ceremonies will go on as scheduled," he added. "The accomplishments of our graduates must be recognized." The ceremony is to take place Sunday.
Police said three women and one man were in the house when it was attacked. The woman who called 911 had been allowed to leave the house to get cash from a bank machine.
Hofstra University, a private university founded in 1935, has an enrollment of about 11,000 and is about 25 miles east of New York City.
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