PORTLAND, Ore. — Robert Douglas Delgado, 46, was killed by a Portland police officer Friday at Lents Park, near Southeast 92nd Avenue and Holgate Boulevard. Since the incident, people have placed flowers, candles, and messages for Delgado at a memorial near the park.
Police were dispatched to Lents Park on reports that a man was pointing a gun. It ended with both less lethal and lethal force used against the 46-year-old Portlander. Delgado died at the scene of a single gunshot.
“It's really tough because it all happened right next to me, right next to my truck. I got every second of police interaction with this gentleman on video,” said David Hernandez.
Hernandez videotaped the deadly ordeal that morning.
A few hours before the police confrontation, Hernandez said he and his partner were at the park and noticed a tent in the grass nearby. Then Delgado, who they did not know, came from the tent to visit.
“He bummed a couple of cigarettes from us and we kicked it and shared a few moments of our lives just talking,” said Hernandez. “He seemed like a really cool guy, [didn't appear to be] on drugs, didn't smell of alcohol.”
At that time Hernandez said he noticed Delgado had a gun, but that it wasn't loaded. Sources have told The Oregonian that police recovered a replica with an orange tip on it. The investigation into the deadly shooting is still underway.
But family members described Delgado to The Oregonian as a sweet man who lived a troubled life, suffering from mental illness and substance abuse. It is unclear if Delgado was in a mental health crisis at the time of the fatal shooting.
“You have people who have the mental health background and the connections to the community the connections to resources that you need to really contact people and figure out what they need to get them out of that place of crisis," said KC Lewis, managing attorney for the Mental Health Rights Project of Disability Rights Oregon. "That's something we'd really like to see funded and then housing is also really a crucial component of it too,”
Robert Delgado was houseless. And so is David Hernandez, who most often lives in his SUV. Hernandez said he has shared his video with police and expects to be called in as a witness.
“What I'm going to go there to do is tell them the exact truth that's all I can do,” said Hernandez.
The truth as he saw it, of something he'll never forget.
“I spent a few moments of my life with this person to interact and get to know him a little bit and -- he's gone. It’s tough.”