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Officer Down: Corporal Mike Roberts

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August 19, 2009

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Officer Down: Corporal Mike Roberts

Officer Down: Corporal Mike Roberts - [Tampa, ]

Age: 38

Cause of Death: Gunfire

Corporal Mike Roberts was shot and killed while investigating a suspicious person in the Sulphur Springs area of the city. He noticed the man pushing a shopping cart along the roadway and stopped to question him.

During the questioning the man began to struggle with Corporal Roberts. The suspect produced a handgun and struck Corporal Roberts several times before shooting him once the chest. The round struck him in an area not protected by his vest.

Corporal Roberts' sergeant pulled up as the man began to flee. The man then pulled an AR-15 rifle from his shopping basket, pointed it at the sergeant, and then fled on foot. The sergeant then provided aid to Corporal Roberts, who was transported to Tampa General Hospital, where he succumbed to his wounds.

The suspect surrendered a short time later after being located by a canine unit. He was armed with three handguns and the rifle when he was taken into custody.

Corporal Roberts had served with the Tampa Police Department for 11 years. He is survived by his wife and 3-year-old son.

Tampa police officer killed; suspect arrested


Humberto Delgado, 34, who gave his address as 324 Country Club Drive in Oldsmar, was arrested and charged shortly before 5 a.m. today with first-degree murder of a law enforcement officer, aggravated assault of a law enforcement officer and carrying a concealed firearm.

Roberts, 38, was an 11-year veteran of the Tampa Police Department. He recently had been promoted from the department's K-9 unit and just Wednesday took a position with the hit-and-run squad, where he was on track to become a detective.

The shooting happened about 10 p.m. Wednesday, when Roberts responded to a report of a suspicious man pushing a shopping cart full of items near Nebraska Avenue and Arctic Street. There have been several burglaries in that area, police said.

Police said a fight ensued after Roberts confronted the man and tried to use his Taser.

Delgado ran across the road and Roberts tackled him, police said. Delgado pulled out a pistol and hit Roberts on the head, police said.

Delgado then shot Roberts, police said. Roberts was wearing a protective vest, but the bullet went through an exposed area under his arm. Delgado ran back to the shopping cart and grabbed a canvas bag as another officer arrived. Delgado pulled an AR-15 assault rifle from the bag and aimed it at the second officer, police said. Delgado then fled while the officer stayed to assist Roberts, police said.

Hillsborough Fire Rescue paramedics worked on Roberts, but he died about an hour later at Tampa General Hospital.

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 early today 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.

"Corporal Roberts served as an example of the outstanding commitment and dedication of our police force," Iorio's statement said.

Roberts was known for his sense of humor and practical jokes that could make anyone smile, police spokeswoman Laura McElroy said. He was also a goalie for the Tampa Police Department hockey team.

"We've got 50 police officers crying right now,"' Hogue said.

"He was the best, and that's what we lost tonight,'' Iorio said at the hospital.

A police dog tracked Delgado to the backyard of a nearby residence on Yukon Street. He had three pistols and the rifle on him when arrested, police said. The shopping cart contained military-type gear and numerous ammunition magazines for the guns. The man had a receipt saying the guns were purchased in Fort Bragg, N.C.

Hogue said the call started out routine – a suspicious person – and quickly turned dangerous.

"This is the nature of police work,"' Hogue said.

A woman who lives near the scene said she heard a popping sound shortly after 10 p.m. She then heard an officer on an intercom shouting, "Backup, backup, backup."

"There were a whole bunch of cops immediately," said the woman, who would identify herself only as C. Williams.

Williams said she had moved to the area only a few months ago. "It makes me want to pack and move," she said.

Tampa police say they investigated six homicides in the first six months of this year. Roberts' death marks the seventh slaying since July 1.

TAMPA, Fla. — An arrest has been made in late Wednesday's shooting death of Tampa police Cpl. Mike Roberts.

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