Police say suspect in police shooting had 4 weapons
TAMPA - The accused killer of a Tampa police officer will face a judge this morning. Humberto Delgado Jr. had four weapons on him, Police Chief Steve Hogue said during a news conference Thursday afternoon - three handguns and an assault weapon. "We're probably lucky there weren't more police officers shot and hurt." Hogue gave this account of the incident:At 9:58 p.m. Wednesday, Cpl. Mike Roberts saw a suspicious person pushing a shopping cart at Nebraska Avenue and Arctic Street and stopped to see why he was there. Witnesses called police after seeing the suspect pull a gun during a struggle between the two. Police dispatch tried unsuccessfully to call Roberts, and five minutes later, a police sergeant arrived at the scene. He called to the suspect, who then ran to a shopping cart and pulled an assault rifle, fleeing as the sergeant tended to Roberts, 38. Hogue said two witnesses said the suspect stopped and told them "police are chasing me. If you see the police, don't tell them." He also called his uncle and said, "I've shot a police officer. I think I killed him." Humberto Delgado Jr. was arrested at 10:25 p.m. after a police K-9 located him. Hillsborough Fire Rescue paramedics worked on Roberts, but the 11-year police department veteran died about an hour later at Tampa General Hospital. On Thursday, the owner of the store 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 Delgado, 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. He was wanting daily work," Pollard said. Pollard placed a flag at the corner of Nebraska Avenue and Arctic Street. Delgado, who gave his address as 324 Country Club Drive in Oldsmar, was arrested early Thursday morning and charged with first-degree murder of a law enforcement officer, aggravated assault of a law enforcement officer and carrying a concealed firearm. 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 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 tail light was out but gave him a verbal warning instead of a ticket. "He was a good cop. He was a good guy," Myrick said. As word of the shooting spread, dozens of officers, police Chief Steve Hogue and Mayor Pam Iorio gathered at the hospital late Wednesday. "It's a tragic day in Tampa today,"' an emotional Hogue said outside the hospital. "We've lost a veteran police officer." Roberts is survived by his wife and 3-year-old son. Police said he won a lifesaving award in 2005 and had received dozens of letters of appreciation from citizens. He had also served in the Air Force and Army. "May his son grow up knowing that his father was our hero," Iorio said in statement this morning. The mayor offered condolences and prayers to Roberts' wife, son and extended family and the family of the Tampa Police Department. "The City of Tampa has suffered a terrible tragedy with the loss of Corporal Mike Roberts of the Tampa Police Department," Iorio said in a statement. "Gunned downed while working to make Tampa a safer place to live, "Corporal Roberts served as an example of the outstanding commitment and dedication of our police force," Iorio's statement said. Iorio has declared that all City of Tampa flags be lowered to half-staff on all city facilities in memory of Roberts.