An officer who was among the first to respond to the Pulse nightclub shooting—and six months away from vesting his pension—is being dismissed from the Eatonville Police Department. He is reportedly suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of the massacre.
Omar Delgado was lauded as a hero after he arrived at the club on June 12, 2016, where he quickly began guiding survivors to safety amid the carnage. In particular, he’s credited with rescuing clubgoer Angel Colon, who was shot six times but survived, thanks to Delgado’s help.
But according to the Orlando Sentinel, Eatonville’s Town Council voted unanimously on Tuesday to let Delgado go at the end of the month, paying him a final wage of $1,200 before taxes in accrued sick time. Had they waited an additional six months, Delgado—who has worked for the department for 9 and a half years—would have been eligible for his pension, in which he would have been able to collect 64 percent of his $38,500 annual salary, with benefits, for life.
Delgado returned to patrol duty around a month after the shooting, which left 49 dead and at least 68 injured, but realized that he was too traumatized from what he’d witnessed to continue. Entering bars and restaurants became a source of stress. “Too many people,” he said. “God forbid, something happens — I don’t know if I’d be able to react.”
To cope with his symptoms, Delgado was placed on a desk job, where he’s spent the last eight months answering phones and performing other light non-patrol tasks. On Monday, he was notified that he’d be terminated on December 31.
Eaton’s Chief Administrative Officer Roger Dixon would not go into specifics regarding Delgado’s firing, but told reporters: “The facts as we know them have caused me as an administrator to be concerned for the health and safety of the citizens and those passing through the town. Most of that is confidential, so I won’t be able to say anything about that.”
Delgado has started a GoFundMe page to raise money, and he plans to apply for disability. Until then, he said he will struggle to support his wife and three kids. “This Christmas is going to be a really sad one,” he said. “There’s simply not enough money to make it.”