Sunday, May 19, 2013
Hofstra Student Killed…
You know when you have a child in college, any time the name of that college comes up on the news you stop what you’re doing and listen. And, even though my older daughter graduated from Hofstra four years ago, I still can’t help but pay close attention to what happens there. A couple of days ago the news reported that a Hofstra student was shot and killed, and for a second my heart seemed to stop. I couldn’t help but think, that even though my daughter was safe, this girl’s parents were going to be heartbroken and devastated, inconsolable. The details of this local story keep being replayed over and over.
What happened? Andrea Rebello and her identical twin sister, Jessica, lived in off campus housing with another girl. Jessica’s boyfriend was also at the home that night. He and Jessica had just returned from a date and they left the front door unlocked because he was leaving shortly. But, that never happened. There was a home invasion at 2 am, by a robber with a long criminal record and a gun. The robber was not satisfied with the “valuables” in the home, so he sent the twins’ roommate to go to the ATM for money and told her she had eight minutes to get back before he would shoot one of the twins. The girl left and called the police. The police arrived to find Jessica running out of the house, the boy friend hiding behind a couch and Andrea being held in a headlock by the intruder, as a human shield. The robber said he was going to shoot her. He pointed his gun at the police officer. The police officer fired, the robber never did. The robber and Andrea were both killed. The investigation revealed that Andrea was accidentally shot in the head by the police officer’s gun.
Friday was the last day of finals at Hofstra. Andrea and her sister were juniors at the university. They probably would have been packing their things to go home for summer vacation today. Instead, funeral arrangements were being made for Wednesday, for the beautiful 21 year old, whose life was cut short. Hofstra is having their graduation today, as scheduled, but this tragedy, happening only two days ago, is going to make it a somber occasion. There will not be a parent there who cannot imagine the grief and anguish of Andrea’s parents. Not to mention the pain of her twin sister, Jessica, who was there at the crime scene. The girls were said to be inseparable and I can’t help but wonder how this poor family will be able to go on after such an unspeakable loss.
The media is relentless is their pursuit of a story. They swoop in like vultures. They make me sick. It would be one thing if they stuck to getting their information at the scene of the crime and from the police department. I guess it would be acceptable if they wanted to interview students to get their reaction to the tragedy. But, they are relentless, callous and insensitive. They stop at nothing. They call the home of the parents looking for statements. I saw pictures being taken of Andrea’s parents, outside their home, as they returned from making funeral arrangements for their beautiful daughter. He mother, dressed in black, had to wave reporters away. The father said, “It’s my daughter, my baby…I’m so confused I don’t know what to do.” They are obviously in total shock at the moment. News like this doesn’t/can’t sink in immediately. They were undoubted looking forward to the girls coming home and filling up the rooms of their house with laughter. Instead, they are burying one of their precious daughters. There will be no laughter, only countless tears and grief. The depths of a grief that I can’t even fully imagine.
It’s so sad. The worst thing that can happen to any parent is to lose a child. It would be easier and hurt less to have your heart just ripped out of your chest than to bury your baby.
My prayers and deepest condolences go out to the Rebello family.