EATONVILLE, Fla. – An Eatonville police officer who was diagnosed with PTSD after saving patrons during the Pulse nightclub shooting will receive his full pension, despite losing his job six months shy of his 10-year mark.
Eatonville Mayor Eddie Cole and other town officials held a news conference Thursday afternoon to make the announcement regarding Cpl. Omar Delgado.
Cole and other town officials said Delgado will receive a disability pension, which is 42 percent of his salary, as well as an additional $1,202.86 in compensation that the town council approved Dec. 5.
Janice Mathis, an attorney for the town, said even if Delgado had stayed on the force long enough to reach his 10-year mark, he would not have been eligible to receive the retirement pension, which is 62 percent of his salary, until he was between 52 and 55 years old.
Delgado has been on desk duty since his diagnosis, but he was recently notified that town officials had made the decision to terminate his employment effective Dec. 31.
"This holiday is going to be a rough one," he said. "What we witnessed and saw -- no man should have ever seen that."
Delgado told CNN that he was one of the first officers to respond to the Orlando nightclub on June 12, 2016. When he made his way into the club, shooter Omar Mateen was holed up in a bathroom and Delgado worked to get survivors to safety.
Town officials said Delgado has had access to counseling services since the mass shooting, which left 49 people dead. They said they support him in his battle with PTSD, but they also noted that it's difficult for a small municipality to deal with the aftermath of such a large-scale tragedy.
"Cpl. Delgado and I have been friends for nine and a half years. I consider him my friend. The Eatonville Police Department still embraces him and we will miss him and this is not easy for us as well," Deputy Chief Joseph Jenkins said.
Delgado's attorney applauded town officials after the announcement Thursday afternoon.
"If the Town of Eatonville is serious in their statements about allowing Cpl. Delgado to retire with his full pension, then I applaud the Town of Eatonville for allowing Cpl. Delgado to retire with the respect and dignity in which he served his community," Paolo Longo said.