'Hero Cop' Who Dragged Shooting Victim Out of Club Speaks

Saturday, June 18, 2016
'Hero Cop' Who Dragged Shooting Victim Out of Club Speaks
Orlando shooting victim Angel Colon was reunited at the Orlando Regional Medical Center with Eatonville Police Officer Omar Delgado, who pulled him to safety.

The police officer who dragged a shooting victim out of the Orlando nightclub as a gunman fired rounds at the crowd spoke out about saving the man's life.

Omar Delgado, a police officer with the Eatonville Police Department, was on patrol when he received a call stating that the Orlando Police Department needed assistance with an emergency just before 2 a.m. Sunday. When he got to the scene, an officer informed him that an active shooter was still inside the club. That's when Delgado heard a round of gunshots.

"I don't even think he finished the sentence when we heard more shots go out," he told ABC News.

After the shots were fired, three or four officers, including Delgado, then entered the building through the club's patio. Several people, who were yelling, screaming and crying, were running out of the club as the officers ran in, he said, calling the scene like something out of a movie set.

The club was dark aside from the lights behind the bar and a disco ball, Delgado said. He noticed up to 25 bodies lying on the dance floor and called for the people to "get up," saying, "We have cover for you."

Officers began grabbing people who they saw moving and dragged them out to the patio. Then, they would go back in and grab someone else. This repeated as gunfire came in their direction, Delgado said.

"We just went back and pulled out more," he said. "It was just a matter of instinct. It was just so much chaos in there, we didn't know where the bullets were going."

Delgado recounted the conversation he had with one of the people he saved, Angel Colon. Delgado had informed Colon that he would have drag him, and Colon, wounded by gunshots, asked the officer to carry him instead.

Delgado and Colon reunited yesterday at the Orlando Regional Medical Center, where they embraced while Colon's crying family looked on.

The Eatonville police officer called the reunion "very touching" and "very emotional," noting the "big smile" Colon had on his face as soon as he walked into the hospital room.

"I was just glad I was able to help him out," Delgado said, adding that Colon told him that they're now family after what they experienced together.

Orlando Chief of Police John W. Mina said his officers "risked their lives" by dragging wounded clubgoers out of the building despite not knowing if gunman Omar Mateen had planted a bomb in the popular gay nightclub.

"Our officers risked their lives for [the victims'] safety," Mina told ABC News. "They just wanted to get those people out of there."

The officers "stood toe-to-toe with a mass murderer," he noted and commended the "many heroes from the night" for performing" "heroically" and "courageously."

Mina said first responders were "upset" that the gunman targeted the LGBT community because it is filled with "loving people."

Although officers were trained after 9/11 to deal with similar scenes of destruction, Mina said "no one can ever prepare themselves" for the carnage they witnessed.

"Something like this affects everyone differently," he said. "No one can ever prepare themselves for this horrific scene."

The officers were given a stress management briefing, speaking to counselors and recanting the events with peers.

"It's very, very important to get that out and not keep it bottled up inside," Mina said.

Delgado called the past six days an "up-and-down roller coaster" and said he has had trouble sleeping since the shooting.

"I know that's gonna stop over time," he said, "just waiting for that day to happen."

After an administrative review, SWAT police officers will return to work next week but will receive additional counseling if needed. Mina said the officers are "very eager" to get back to work.

"They want to protect this community, like they always have," Mina said. "They want to get back on those streets."

The community's "outpouring of love" has not only been directed toward the victims and their families. Mina said residents know officers "have a tough job to do."

The FBI is investigating gunman Omar Mateen and the circumstances leading up to the attack but Orlando police will continue to monitor the scene of the shooting, Mina said, adding that his "top priority" is making sure the people of Orlando feel safe.

ABC News' Marci Gonzalez and Linzie Janis contributed to this report.

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