The survivors of a deadly hostage standoff spent the weekend together mourning at the New York home of Andrea Rebello, the Hofstra University junior shot to death by police when a Long Island home invasion turned bad.
Gathering at Rebello's parents' home in upstate Tarrytown, N.Y., were her twin sister, Jessica, and her boyfriend, Brad Wilson, as well as Jessica's boyfriend, John Kourtessis.
"Andrea was the love of my life and my best friend," Wilson, 22 and a marketing major, told ABC News.
The tragedy unfolded for them early Friday morning after a night of drinking at a nearby bar to celebrate the end of the semester when the four students returned to the off-campus rental home the sisters shared with two other friends.
The sisters left open the front door, so Kourtessis could grab car keys and quickly move Jessica's parked car.
But in the moments that it took Kourtessis to retrieve his keys from upstairs, ex-con Dalton Smith allegedly entered the home early Friday morning brandishing a pistol and demanding cash from the college students.
When police arrived at the scene, officials said, Smith used Rebello as a human shield, and both the gunman and his hostage were killed by police.
At the Rebello family home this weekend in Tarrytown, those who knew the young woman best gathered to make funeral arrangements and console one another.
"We spent every second together, and she was always there for me when I needed her the most," Wilson, her boyfriend, said. "She was perfect. She had a beautiful face, but that was nothing compared to the beauty she had in her heart.
"She was the most caring person I have ever met, and was always looking for a way to make people smile. Things are going to be very different without her here. I'm going to miss her so much but my love for her will last forever. I will never forget the amazing times that we had together."
Rebello and Wilson began dating in 2011 when they were freshmen at the Hempstead, N.Y., school on Long Island.
At Hofstra's graduation this weekend, students wore white ribbons and observed a moment of silence.
Rebello's funeral is planned for Wednesday.
Friday night, after the students offered Smith jewelry and their computers, they say he demanded more money and sent one of the Rebellos' roommates, Shannon Thomas, to an ATM, Nassau County homicide squad Lt. John Azzata.
"He said if she wasn't back in eight minutes, he'd kill one of the individuals in the house," Azzata said.
The roommate called 911, Azzata said, and two officers were dispatched to the scene.
Rebello and Smith died within moments of cops' entering the home and finding Smith holding the young woman with a gun to her head, police said.
Eight shots were fired, seven hit Smith, but one hit Rebello in the head, killing her instantly, police said.
- Death & Funeral
- Society & Culture
- Hofstra University
- Dalton Smith