Who Is Omar Delgado? The Pulse Nightclub Hero Cop Who Has PTSD From The Shooting Is Losing His Job
After helping usher people to safety following the devastating shooting at Orlando's Pulse nightclub, Officer Omar Delgado is being let go from the Eatonville Police Department. Delgado, the 45-year old corporal, believes his PTSD related to the mass shooting led to his termination. Making the situation more dire, his last day falls six months before he could have received his full pension.
Delgado was one of the first officers on the scene of the Pulse tragedy, when 49 people were killed and 58 more injured in June 2016. He was diagnosed with PTSD two months after the attack and wasn't able to work for six months, CNN reports. When he returned, he was only able to work desk duty. Delgado claims his PTSD played a part in his termination, and said he was told by the police department that a doctor found him "unfit for duty" and there was no other position he could take.
Eatonville Deputy Chief Joseph Jenkins has confirmed that Delgado's last day will be Dec. 31, but the Eatonville PD has not commented on why he was let go. "We have embraced Officer Delgado wholeheartedly from the start of this," Jenkins told CNN. "We have surrounded him with love and support and continue to support him ... and have done everything within our power for him." Bustle has reached out to the police department for comment.
Angel Colon is one of the Pulse victims Delgado helped save. He was shot six times before Delgado pulled him out of the nightclub, and the two men had an emotional reunion in Colon's hospital room a few days later. When Colon heard about Delgado's termination, he said it was disrespectful to both Delgado and himself.
"He was my hero," Colon told the local WFTV. "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. ... He did his job that night on June 12 so they should have his back 100 percent, totally, and just be there for whatever he needs."
In six months, Delgado would have been on the police force for 10 years, when he would have become vested in his pension. He currently makes $38,500 a year, and he would have began receiving 64 percent of his salary and full benefits when he turned 55 had he reached that 10-year mark. Because it was cut short, he'll receive 42 percent of his salary, according to The Orlando Sentinel. Because he's only 45, though, he'll be without a paycheck in January.
"This Christmas is going to be a really sad one," he told USA Today. "There’s simply not enough money to make it."
Delgado said he would have happily left the police department in six months, but the decision to keep him from getting his full pension shocked him. “Just let me get vested," he said, "and I will be more than happy to pack up my troubles and leave."
The Eatonville Town Council voted to pay Delgado $1,200 before taxes in accrued sick time. A GoFundMe page was also started to support him financially, and has already surpassed its $25,000 goal. The page says the money will go toward helping the police officer "get the counseling he so desperately wants and needs."
Delgado continues to have a recurring nightmare about the mass shooting in which he's trying to remove people from the nightclub as the gunman opens fire. He drops to the ground, unable to determine who or where the shooter is, he says, and his screams usually wake up him.
"I never thought I would have gotten to this point. I thought I’d shake it off and everything would be fine," he told USA Today. "But that hasn’t happened. Nothing has been right since that day."