Officer who responded to Pulse nightclub massacre deemed unfit for duty, fired

Eatonville Police Officer Omar Delgado

The officer claims the department made the decision after a doctor found him unfit to return to full duty because of post-traumatic stress disorder.

For the last eight months, Delgado has worked a desk job but will be unable to reap the benefits of his pension when he is let go by the end of the month after almost 10 years on the job.

"I don't need to be a police officer with my gun belt and so forth to do those little tasks", Delgado said before Tuesday's meeting.

Delgado said he doesn't understand why he's losing his job.

However, the EPD says it needs to hire a new officer right away for patrol duty, which Delgado can no longer perform after the night he spent in June of 2016 checking bodies in the dark club for signs of life and helping injured people to safety. Delgado and the officers around him dive for the ground, unable to tell where the shots are coming from or at whom they're being fired. The Orlando Police Department granted early retirement benefits in July to Officer Gerry Realin, 37, who was diagnosed with PTSD and will get about 80 percent of his $70,000 salary each year for life.

"They can't find it in their hearts to find six more months, just so I can be vested and just move on with my life", he said.

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The nation's oldest incorporated African-American town, known as the home of author Zora Neale Hurston, it has about 2,000 people and a small police department, where Delgado has worked for nine-and-a-half years. "Since he will leave the force before making it to 10 years, he will receive 42% of his earnings, the paper noted".

The Police Department wouldn't confirm the reason for Delgado being let go.

"It's hurtful", Delgado said.

Eatonville Mayor Eddie Cole refused to answer questions about Delgado's dismissal and why he was being let go when he is so close to being able to qualify for his pension.

"This town, as well as me, cares about people", Cole said. "And who is going to help me?"

The Sentinel reported that a Florida bill requiring coverage for mental health treatment in workers compensation insurance for first responders with PTSD advanced Tuesday in the state Senate.

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