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Neighborhood 'devastated' by officer's death

Published: August 21, 2009 Updated: March 23, 2013 at 07:17 AM
TAMPA - The owner of a store just steps from where Roberts was shot said the gunman had recently asked him for a job.Jeff Pollard, owner of Groom's Appliances, 8615 Nebraska Ave., said Humberto Delgado Jr., 34, had been staying at a nearby homeless shelter. For the past couple of months, Pollard said, he frequently spotted Delgado pushing a shopping cart around the neighborhood."He was just wanting to get a job," Pollard said. "He was wanting daily work."Pollard placed a flag at the corner of Nebraska Avenue and Arctic Street, where Tampa police Cpl. Mike Roberts was shot and killed Wednesday night.Melody Bear, an employee at Groom's Appliances, placed flowers in makeshift pots Thursday morning."I feel it's my civic and honorable thing to do to come out here and pay tribute to someone who lost his life protecting our neighborhood," said Bear, wiping a tear from her cheek. "We're just little people here, but he's a big man who did a good job."Across the street at Central Radiator, technician Alex Lugo hung plastic letters on a sign asking for prayers for the slain officer. Lugo said Roberts, 38, was a familiar and comforting presence in the crime-ridden neighborhood."We're all devastated here," Lugo said. "He kept everybody safe, everybody in line, especially on this busy avenue."Richard Myrick, a driver for the appliance store, said Roberts just last week pulled him over because his taillight was out but gave him a verbal warning instead of a ticket."He was a good cop. He was a good guy," Myrick said.