I hate writing posts like this because they are sad and inflammatory, but I think they are too valuable of learning tools to let pass consistently.
Andrea Rebello, was a 21 year Junior at Hofstra on Long Island in New York. She was sitting at home Friday, May 17th, 2013 with her twin sister, a female friend and another male student when a masked man came through their open front door with a gun and demanded money and valuables.
Unhappy with what he got, the attacker sent the 3rd girl out to an ATM for cash and threatened to kill the others if she did not return.
While she was out the girl called 911 and police were dispatched immediately.
Upon arriving the officer was confronted by the felon who had Andrea in a headlock, with the gun pointed at her head. The twin sister running out the front door and the male friend hiding behind the couch.
The felon repeatedly stated, “I’m going to kill her,’ and then he pointed the gun at the police officer, who fired 8 shots, hitting the felon with 7 and striking Andrea in the head with the 8th.
As it turns out the criminal was 30 years old and had a rap sheet that went back 15 years and was using an illegal gun. However, that really doesn’t matter as it could have been a 1st crime with a legally obtained gun and the result would have been the same.
It is amazing how many points of learning there are in those 8 sentences…
- While some 80% of homicides are felon on felon crime, they all aren’t. There is no reason to believe that Andrea wasn’t a good citizen that was happily living her life.
- At 21 years old, Andrea was old enough to have legally purchased a firearm anywhere in the country. Presumably she didn’t have one to use in her own defense.
- I say presumably because she is in New York, that recently rushed in some of the toughest gun control measures in the country. Tough gun laws that did nothing to protect her.
- I know there almost no Friday’s when I was in college where I wasn’t break at least 1 of the 4 S’s, and certainly not the Friday before graduation (Don’t go stupid places or do stupid things, with stupid people, at stupid times). These 4 however were at Andrea’s home, proving your don’t get to choose when the balloon goes up.
- Unlocked doors are a bad idea.
- The victims had their attacker out numbered 4:1 and where moving through the house. One of them might have had an opportunity to get a staged gun, even if they didn’t have it on them.
- The local cops responded very quickly.
- The cops did a good job of identifying what was happening in a dynamic situation. Imagine seeing someone running out of a house as you are going towards a gun man.
- The officer fired the maximum legal number of rounds for a pistol in the state, against 1 felon.
- The officer hit is target 87.5% of the time, with a hostage! That is stellar especially in comparison to the suicide by cop in front of the Empire State Building.
- The officer missed 1 round that killed the hostage. As an officer he will likely not face any criminal or legal action. You can bet you would have though.
- As a result the officer has to live with the fact that HE KILLED THE VICTIM THAT HE TRIED TO SAVE, the parents lost a child. the twin lost her sister, and the male friend has to live with the fact that she died while he hid.
What could have been done differently?
The doors could have been locked (Proactive)
This appears to have been a crime of opportunity. If the students would have had locked door the felon would have likely chosen a different target. In fact there is no way to know how many other houses he passed on until he found this on.
The girls could have been armed (Reactive)
If a armed, masked man enters your house, there is a good chance he isn’t trying to borrow sugar. If the co-eds were armed they may have been able to save themselves, especially twins working together.
All of this is very sad… for the victim, her family and the officer, but it serves as a reminder that we don’t get to choose when the balloon goes up, only how well prepared you are to deal with it.