- A Florida police department has dismissed Cpl. Omar Delgado, an officer lauded as a hero for his actions during the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orland0 in 2016.
- Delgado has blamed his dismissal in part on his decision to speak out on his condition and questioned why the department let him go six months before he would have been vested in the pension system.
A Florida police officer who rescued a Pulse nightclub shooting victim and developed post-traumatic stress disorder after the massacre is out of a job, the Orlando Sentinel reported.
Cpl. Omar Delgado, a nine-year veteran of the Eatonville Police Department, was one of the first officers on the scene of the June 2016 mass shooting at Orlando’s Pulse nightclub, which left 49 dead and dozens more wounded. Delgado was lauded as a hero after rescuing clubgoer Angel Colon, who was shot six times.
But the police department on Monday dismissed Delgado from the force, where he has worked on desk duty for the past eight months. The Eatonville Town Council voted unanimously Tuesday evening to pay him $US1,200 before taxes in accrued sick time.
Delgado told the Sentinel he did not understand why he lost his job, adding that Florida lawmakers must act to support first responders with PTSD. Delgado has blamed his dismissal in part on his decision to speak out on his condition.
“It’s hurtful,” he said. “It’s a small town. Everyone’s family here, and I thought I was going to be treated like family … I didn’t think I was going to be treated this way.”
‘He was my hero’
Delgado also said the police department terminated him just six months shy of reaching his 10th year on the job, which would have vested him in the pension system and allowed him to collect 64% of his $US38,500 salary for life.
Instead, Delgado will now only receive 42% of his salary starting when he turns 55. Delgado, a married father of three, is currently 45. He has set up a GoFundMe page to raise money and said he plans to apply for disability.
On Tuesday, Delgado questioned the timing of his dismissal and why the police department refused to let him continue working desk duty for an additional six months.
“Just let me get vested and I will be more than happy to pack up my troubles and leave,” he told USA Today. “This is the thing I’ve been working toward for 10 years and to be six months shy then fired – it’s like, ‘Wow!'”
Eatonville Mayor Eddie Cole told reporters on Tuesday he could not discuss Delgado’s dismissal due to privacy laws.
“This town, as well as me, cares about people,” he told the Sentinel. “But some pictures are bigger than we all know.”
Colon, the victim Delgado rescued, has denounced the police department’s decision to terminate Delgado.
“He was my hero. He saved my life and for them to just do what they’re doing to him in front of my face is a slap to my face as well,” Colon told local ABC affiliate WFTV. “He did his job that night on June 12, so they should have his back 100%, totally, and just be there for whatever he needs.”
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