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 Eatonville Police Department told News 6 that the town of Eatonville made a decision to terminate Delgado's employment on December 31.
Delgado was lauded as a hero for saving nightclub shooting victim Angel Colon during the June 2016 shooting, which killed 49 people. But he says the June 12, 2016 attack, in which gunman Omar Mateen killed 49 and injured dozens others in what was then the worst mass shooting in USA history, left him changed. He tells the newspaper he learned Monday that his job is ending. Delgado makes $38,500 annually, Town Clerk Cathy Williams said. "Could they have let me do that for six more months?"
Delgado said he has been on light duty for several months, and he is just six months shy of tenure, which would have made him eligible for full retirement benefits.
Delgado had been working for the department for nine and a half years.
Delgado said he spent nearly 10 years on the force.
Deputy Chief Joseph Jenkins said the department reached a confidential agreement with the officer.
"There are some things that I'm not privileged to say", Cole said. Now he will be terminated just six months before he would have earned his pension for being on the force for 10 years.
At Tuesday's meeting, Mayor Eddie Cole questioned why funds from the onePULSE Foundation weren't diverted to law enforcement officers and their families but declined to provide additional information about Delgado's dismissal, citing privacy laws.
"It's hurtful", he said. "It's a small town and we're like a family", he said. Everyone's family here, and I thought I was going to be treated like family ... "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 to him in front of my face is a slap to my face as well", Colon told WFTV, a local ABC affiliate.
"I needed help and I guess I am being punished because I asked for help", Delgado said.
"This Christmas is going to be a really sad one", he added.
Meanwhile, a bill requiring coverage for mental-health treatment in workers compensation insurance for first responders with PTSD advanced Tuesday in the Florida Senate.
Under the bill, treatment would begin within 15 days if the injury was certified by a licensed psychiatrist.
Hopefully, if the bill passed into law, it will help other officers with PTSD meet a different, happier end than Delgado.
The bill moved forward and could be heard in the 2018 legislative session beginning January 9.