Dec 6, 2017, 12:31 PM ET

Pulse nightclub hero to be dismissed by police department


A Florida police officer who was hailed a hero for swiftly rescuing a victim in the Pulse nightclub shooting last year will be dismissed from the force at the end of the month.

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Omar Delgado, a member of the Eatonville Police Department, was among the first officers to respond to the attack at Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, on June 12, 2016. He was credited with pulling victim Angel Colon to safety after gunman Omar Mateen opened fire on clubgoers, killing 49 people.

Colon, who was shot multiple times, told ABC News in an interview last year that he would have "bled to death" if not for Delgado, who rescued him roughly 25 minutes after gunfire erupted, allowing Colon to get lifesaving treatment.

Delgado told ABC affiliate WFTV in Orlando that he has been on light duty since the massacre because he suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder. He said the Eatonville Police Department has deemed him unfit for duty and he was told Monday that his last day on the job will be Dec. 31, six months before he qualifies for a pension from the town.

He has been a member of the department for over nine years.

"They can't find it in their hearts to find six more months, just so I can be vested and then just move on with my life," Delgado told WFTV. "I needed help, and I guess I'm being punished because I asked for help."

PHOTO: In this July 11, 2016, file photo, visitors at a makeshift memorial outside the Pulse nightclub, the day before the one month anniversary of the mass shooting, in Orlando, Fla.John Raoux/AP Photo
In this July 11, 2016, file photo, visitors at a makeshift memorial outside the Pulse nightclub, the day before the one month anniversary of the mass shooting, in Orlando, Fla.

Eatonville Police Chief Joseph Jenkins confirmed Delgado's dismissal for ABC News but wouldn't provide details on the reasons for it.

"We have reached an agreement with Officer Delgado, and we will be terminating his employment on Dec. 31. There are circumstances I can't go into because of protected information," Jenkins said via telephone today.

The Eatonville Town Council voted Tuesday night to pay some of Delgado's accrued sick time before he's out of a job. Eatonville Mayor Eddie Cole refused to answer WFTV's questions about Delgado's termination.

"There are some things that I'm not privileged to say," Cole said.

Colon attended Tuesday's council meeting to speak out against Delgado's dismissal.

"He was my hero," Colon told WFTV. "He saved my life, and for them to just do what they're doing in front of my face, it's a slap to my face as well."

"God sent him, and he was my hero that night," Colon added. "Without him, who knows if I would have stayed inside that club and not made it out?"

News - Pulse nightclub hero to be dismissed by police department

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  • Randy rjjd

    The new american business model. This is why ill never be loyal to an employer. And i will never go above the call of duty. Im there for me only. The first place to offer more money im gone.

  • E Sverdrup

    I’m sorry to hear the officer has not been able to do his job since the shooting but I don’t think that should qualify him for a pension. It’s just time to switch jobs.

  • Holly II

    Vested at 10 years? That doesn't seem correct.

  • Jiba

    There must be reasons

  • Xolodnyj

    So this is how they treat their heroes in Eatonville. And the authorities said they reached an agreement. With who? Because clearly this officer is not on board. And when you ask a question, they are suddenly not at liberty to say. Hiding behind some secret legal documents.

  • CarolynDM

    Six months before qualifying for his pension!! Disgusting!! These people should be ashamed of themselves. He can do desk duty with PTSD for six months! Shame the hell on them!!

  • KJ

    They agreed to pay him SOME of his accrued sick time? I bet the lawyers are lining up calling this guy. I smell a settlement...

  • Bobby Magee

    You people don't know any of the real reasons for his dismissal yet you think you know everything. You haters are pathetic.

  • iamhe

    Law Suit..... and he will win.........

  • Joan Nilson

    He did more than meritorious service that night - and he had already put in 9 years in the police department... and no matter what the reasons for this dismissal: THE OPTICS ARE HORRIBLE!!!

    If the man has post-traumatic stress disorder - which is more than understandable - is there not a desk job he can fulfill? If not, or if he can't do that either, can he be on disability?

    But to literally throw him to the street six months before he qualifies for a pension is disgusting!

  • Rafterman00

    A sleazy way foe the town to deny him a pension.

    Meanwhile, the 1 percent just got a Christmas tax present from the GOP. Sad.

  • AlexTheGreat

    Either 1, he's done something they won't release (seems unlikely given that he took this to the media) or 2), welcome to the South (much more likely). How come the union is not coming to this guy's defense?

  • Noneofyourbusiness

    If he's being dismissed for his PTSD or anything related to it, there's a lawsuit on the way - at least I hope there is.

  • Omegacron

    Hmm... that's a tough one. It's hard to ask anyone, even a government agency, to keep someone around who can't or won't work. Then again, it seems like government jobs do that all the time, so....

  • evchrny

    my guess is he was on thin ice 16 months ago. the hero thing probably gave him a reprieve. However after going this long it's pretty low of the town to not let him make his 10 years.

  • Prophet With Honor

    I would like to know the actual behavior he manifests since PTSD has so many forms.

  • Hawkman100

    The first refuge of this unprincipled Mayor is to hide behind privacy legislation. If Officer Delgado wants to put the Mayor on the spot, he should waive his right to privacy and force the mayor to make a statement.

  • Jenna

    Obviously, they're just groping for an excuse to cheat him out of his pension and benefits. I hope he sues them so hard that they end up paying DOUBLE what he would have cost them, because that's the only way they'll stop taking these cheap shots.

  • Dicazi

    Where's the union in this?
    Desk duty, if nothing else.
    Writing traffic tickets.

  • Mysterious

    he should not have ate the last doughnut after his boss told everyone to save him one. lol

  • Baron_of_Greymatter

    Good cops tend to get fired or fragged. Thin Blue Line.

  • HelloDarkness

    >>Delgado said his department has deemed him unfit for duty and he was told Monday that his last day on the job would be Dec. 31, six months before he qualifies for his pension from the town.

    completely evil thing to do.

  • brickmette

    There's something 'fishy' going on here. Officer Delgado is being dismissed not because of misconduct, but because of an unresolved disability that apparently resulted from performing his duties in an exceptional manner. Then, the mayor refuses to discuss why Delgado is being dismissed, citing unrevealed circumstances.
    First, the mayor should be compelled to reveal why Delgado is being dismissed. The case should proceed from there.

  • Pangaea 47

    How tacky of Florida. They should be able to find 6 months of paperwork that needs doing that he could take care of.

  • Melinda

    PTSD is real. Geez

  • Hecate

    Just another example of what a thankless job it is to be a police officer.....

  • Joel Croft

    Looks more like chicken$hit bureaucratic irresponsible heartlessness!

  • DB

    They should find another place to cut costs. Looks like a money saving decision.

  • John Michael Davis

    6 months away from full pension? This isn't right. Put him on desk duty for 6 months. Geez, this is not right!

  • fmd160

    Whatever he "might" have done is probably something that many other Officers have been put on paid leave for. What's so different abut this?