Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tampa officers at Humberto Delgado Jr. trial tell of scene after police corporal shot

TAMPA

The corporal bled. The gunman hid.

And Tampa police, in the earliest moments after learning one of their own was down, raced to do what they could.

Officers took the witness stand Monday in the first-degree murder trial of Humberto Delgado Jr. to describe what they experienced the night of Aug. 19, 2009.

Officer Vincent Gericitano had just finished a traffic stop when he heard something on the radio. It sounded like a struggle. "Lincoln 61," the dispatcher called, trying to get the attention of Cpl. Mike Roberts, who had, minutes earlier, announced he was about to interrogate someone.

Roberts did not answer.

Gericitano headed his way.

As he drove to the intersection of Nebraska Avenue and Arctic Street, he heard a sergeant give codes: "10-33," need an ambulance; "10-0," the subject was armed. Upon arrival, Gericitano saw Cpl. Mike Roberts on the ground, struggling to breathe.

Gericitano shouted for a knife, cut off the corporal's shirt, and began efforts to save his life.

A block away, a police dog traced a scent left on an abandoned duffel bag to a shed, a pile of wood and a man, tucked amid it. Officer Sandra Learned watched hands emerge, empty. "I'm sorry," the voice said. "I'm sorry. God, I'm sorry."

More officers descended to extract Delgado from the pile. One kicked him from behind; another pulled. They got him on his stomach and punched him until they could get his hands cuffed.

"I'm sorry," Delgado repeated.

"I didn't mean to do it … "

Dashboard camera videos capture the muffled shouts of those at Roberts' side, kneeling, performing CPR. "And one, and two, and three, and four … "

Gericitano gave chest compressions. Officer Perry Anderson breathed into his lungs. A voice yelled, "Come on, Mike!"

In the courtroom, some cried. Others bowed their heads.

Prosecutor Karen Stanley asked Gericitano a series of questions: "Did you go with Cpl. Roberts in the ambulance?"

"Yes ma'am."

"And you went to the hospital?" His voice broke. "Yes ma'am."

"And you were there when he was pronounced?"

He answered, "Yes ma'am."

Before the lights and the sirens, before the bullet, others had witnessed the scene.

Richard Farmer, a 29-year-old, seven-time felon, had planned to be in a strip club that night, but the cover charge was too high, so he left with a friend, car radio blasting, and they headed along Nebraska Avenue until they saw something that made them turn the volume down: a cop and a homeless man, Farmer said, "fitting to have problems."

The police officer was trying to approach the man, but the man kept walking away. So the officer shot the man with a Taser.

"I was thinking about when the police Tased me," Farmer said. "I thought he was going to fall like I fell."

But the man did not fall. One of the stun gun's prongs landed in his dreadlocks. Farmer watched the man reach to pull the other out of his shoulder.

Then, Farmer said, there was a fight. It ended with the officer, unconscious on his back, and the homeless man, bending over him, punching.

"And what happened next?" the prosecutor asked.

Farmer replied, "The homeless man shot the police."

A defense attorney highlighted inconsistencies in Farmer's statements, about whether Delgado was holding anything as he hit Roberts and whether, afterward, Delgado said anything. He also noted that Farmer had been drinking and that in the 911 call he placed, he mentioned getting a reward for his cooperation.

Michael Hamberg was driving by as he caught the earliest scene of the night — a homeless man leaning over a shopping cart and a police officer yelling at him to get down on the ground.

Hamberg kept his eye on the two as he continued. In his rear view, they remained about 15 feet apart. It wasn't until he'd left them, and traveled seven blocks away, that he heard something that would register only once the news had spread the next day:

A loud pop.

Alexandra Zayas can be reached at azayas@sptimes.com or (813) 226-3354.

Tampa officers at Humberto Delgado Jr. trial tell of scene after police corporal shot 11/07/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, November 8, 2011 12:06am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. The weeks' most compelling photos from Tampa Bay and Florida

    Human Interest

    Florida photos of the week for August 11 - August 18: Beach family yoga, Confederate symbols as flashpoints, American Idol winners and hopefuls, Fetish Con, the second oldest survivor of the Pearl Harbor attack turns 104, an armada of rubber ducks, and more.

    Jayden Sheene, 8, left, and Zoey Sheene, 6, rest atop at the arms and legs of their mother, Shelby Sheene, 27, of Holiday, while participating in a Beach Family Yoga gathering on Tuesday (8/15/17) at the Dunedin Causeway. The donation-based classes, hosted each Tuesday (10am), near the Sail Honeymoon rentals, were organized by area moms who wanted to practice yoga while providing an opportunity bond with their children through the spiritual and physical contact of the practice, which has its roots in ancient India. Yoga uses breathing techniques, poses and meditation to help improve health and happiness. (DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD   |   Times)
  2. Appointment of Confederate activist sparks diversity council chair to resign

    Blogs

    The head of a Hillsborough County committee that promotes diversity resigned from the panel Wednesday after county commissioners named to the committee an advocate of Confederate heritage.

    David McCallister won a spot on Hillsborough County's Diversity Advisory Council on Wednesday.
  3. Union versus union: Discord divides the small staff representing Pinellas teachers

    Education

    The Pinellas Classroom Teachers Association says in its mission statement that it promotes solidarity and respect for the profession.

    Steve Sarang, a teacher at Pinellas Gulf Coast Academy, participates in an informational picket last month in support of employees of the Pinellas teachers union. Some of the union's office staff are in a long-running dispute with union president Mike Gandolfo and have take their complaints to the National Labor Relations Board. [EVE EDELHEIT   |   Times]
  4. Powerball reaches $535 million, drawing Saturday

    Human Interest

    The jackpot for Saturday's Powerball drawing has reached an estimated $535 million, the largest in the nation and fifth largest in the history of the game. The cash payout for the main prize is an estimated $340.1 million.

    The Powerball jackpot reaches an estimated $535 million. [Florida Lottery]
  5. That funky smell in Old Tampa Bay is a confirmed algae bloom

    Water

    Smell something funky near Safety Harbor?