Officer Fired Over Pulse PTSD

Eatonville Police Officer Omar Delgado

A police officer who responded to a mass shooting at a Florida nightclub and now suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder is losing his job.

The Eatonville Town Council voted Tuesday night to pay some of Officer Omar Delgado's accrued sick time before he is dismissed from the police force on December 31.

The department has since deemed him unfit for duty and Delgado's last day on the force will be December 31, six months before he qualifies for his pension from the town.

Delgado was declared a hero the night of the Pulse nightclub attack in Orlando after he pulled victim Angel Colon to safety.

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. On Monday, he was told that job is ending. Another six months, and he would become vested in the pension system, able to collect 64 percent of his $38,500 salary and benefits for life.

Meanwhile, Delgado said state legislators have not done enough to address PTSD in police officers.

As it stands now, he will only receive 42 percent of his salary starting when he's 55 years old. Town officials won't say why, but Delgado said a doctor's finding that PTSD makes him unfit to return to full duty is a factor. 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 9? years. "Could they have let me do that for six more months?"

Delgado said he spent nearly 10 years on the force.

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According to the Sentinel, the police department wouldn't confirm the reason for Delgado's dismissal but said they'd reached an agreement to end his employment. "This is the thing I've been working toward for 10 years and to be six months shy then fired - it's like, 'Wow!'"

"It's hurtful", he said.

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. I didn't think I was going to be treated this way". "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".

"This Christmas is going to be a really sad one", he added.

The Florida Senate has forwarded a bill that requires coverage for mental issues treatment in workers compensation insurance for first responders with PTSD.

Under the bill, treatment would begin within 15 days if the injury was certified by a licensed psychiatrist. It may be heard by the legislature in the session beginning January 9.

He's not the first officer at the horrific shooting scene to meet this fate.

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