Suspect charged in TPD officers murder

August 20th, 2009 by

TAMPA – Police have arrested and charged a 34-year-old Oldsmar man with first degree murder in the shooting death of a Tampa police officer.

Investigators say Humberto Delgado Jr., 34, was armed with four guns, three handguns and one assault rifle, and ammunition when he shot and killed Corporal Mike Roberts in the line of duty Wednesday night.

Cpl. Roberts, 38, was patrolling a neighborhood that recently had several burglaries on Nebraska Avenue and Arctic Street just before 10 p.m.

“He was doing his job, like good police officers do and he saw some suspicious activity. This guy was kind of lurking around in the area. He was pushing a shopping cart. It was unusual and he stopped to investigate,” Tampa Police Department Chief Stephen Hogue said. “And he obviously didn’t know he was heavily armed and a dangerous individual.”

Police said after Cpl. Roberts tried to stop Delgado the men struggled, and when Roberts tried to use his taser Delgado ran across the street. Roberts chased him.

Two witnesses said they saw Delgado pull out a gun, pistol whip Cpl. Roberts and fire one shot. Roberts was wearing a bulletproof vest, but detectives said the bullet hit him on the right side of his chest in an area that was not protected.

Witnesses said they saw the suspect run back to the shopping cart and remove a large canvas bag. A few minutes later, Cpl. Roberts’ sergeant pulled up and saw Delgado running from the scene, police said.

The sergeant said he saw Delgado running from the scene, and then Delgado pulled an assault rifle from the bag, pointed it at him and took off again.

The sergeant ran to get help for Roberts. Roberts, an 11-year veteran with TPD, was taken to Tampa General Hospital where he was pronounced dead less than an hour later.

A K-9 officer tracked Delgado down in a backyard in the 800 block of Yukon Street, according to the Tampa Police Department, where he surrendered to police.

“This is just a horrible tragic crime that’s been committed against this young, dedicated officer. And we’re going to do our job now,” TPD Major George McNamara said.

Detectives spent several hours questioning Delgado, announcing charges shortly before 5 a.m.

“It’s never easy, but understand we have a job to do, this is one of our own. Is it personal? Do we hurt? Yeah. Yeah, we hurt,” McNamara added. “But at the same time we move into a court of law and we have to do our job and do it diligently. And we will.”

Tampa police said they are working to track down where Delgado got the guns or what he was trying to do with them, and believe it’s possible the weapons came from Fort Bragg.

Delgado didn’t say anything to reporters when officers walked him from police headquarters downtown to a patrol car. He only hung his head low, and grunted several times.

Delgado is being held without bond at the Orient Road Jail on charges of first degree murder of a law enforcement officer, aggravated assault of a law enforcement officer and carrying a concealed firearm.

Cpl. Roberts is survived by his wife and 3-year-old son.

Roberts was promoted to the rank of corporal in July from the department’s K-9 unit. He was also honored with a Life Saving Award in 2005, and had served in the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Army.

A makeshift memorial with flowers and candles has been set up outside police headquarters downtown, and flags are being flown at half-staff. Roberts is the 27th Tampa police officer killed in the line of duty since 1895, according to the department’s website.

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