On Nov. 12, the Portland Police Bureau released a 497-page report from its death investigation of Robert Delgado. Officer Zachary DeLong shot and killed Delgado in Lents Park on April 16, wrongly believing the gun Delgado pointed at police was a real firearm.
The newly released records describe the items police recovered on or near Delgado at the time of his death. As WW previously reported, advocates said Delgado had recently moved to Lents after the city swept homeless encampments in Laurelhurst Park.
Taken as a whole, the belongings police recovered illustrate a familiar picture for most Portlanders: that of an unhoused man trying to survive through the night. The items also suggest why Delgado attracted the attention of at least one concerned neighbor the night before he died: He had gone to the park to sleep.
At 11:47 pm on April 15, the night before the shooting, Lents resident Chase Hagen made an “unwanted person” call to the city’s non-emergency line. In the call audio, obtained by WW through a public records request, Hagen reported someone camping in Lents Park who appeared to have a small flame lit in their tent. (Temperatures dropped to 46 degrees that night.)
“There’s a tent on the northern corner of 92nd and Holgate that’s been erected, so I don’t know if that’s park rangers or you guys. Just wanted to let you know,” Hagen told the call operator. “I thought I saw what looks like to be a fire in it, like, you know, like a little campfire inside the tent.”
The operator asked if Hagen believed the fire department needed to respond.
“No, no, definitely not, it does not need the fire department. It was just blowing for a second,” Hagen said, referring to the flame that he saw, “and I was like, ‘Oh that looks like a tent,’ and it was a tent. I walk my dog this time every day, and I’ve never seen a tent in [that part] of the park before.” (Hagen did not respond to WW’s request for comment.)
The operator did not dispatch police: “[Complainant] aware of homeless issues but hasn’t seen here b4 and wanted to report it,” the call taker wrote. “Taking as info. We are not empowered to kick campers out of the parks.”
The next morning, Hagen and his fiancée returned to Lents Park during a walk with their dog. That’s when they saw Delgado quick-drawing a gun like “he thinks he’s some kind of cowboy…or James Bond.” For the second time in less than 12 hours, at 9:28 am, Hagen again called the city’s non-emergency line. 911 operators dispatched DeLong.
Four minutes after arriving at Lents Park, DeLong shot and killed Delgado with a single bullet wound to his chest. Eyewitnesses testified that in the moments before DeLong fired, a visibly agitated Delgado marched to his tent, crouched over, and rifled through his belongings. He then stood up and pointed a handgun directly at police, eyewitnesses testified, prompting DeLong to fire his AR-15 rifle from about 90 feet away. (A grand jury declined to indict DeLong on Sept. 23.)
When, seven minutes later, police eventually approached Delgado, he was no longer breathing. Once they were 10 to 15 feet from his body, eyewitnesses testified, they could see the airsoft gun’s reddish-orange tip, indicating it was a fake.
Police also saw Delgado’s possessions strewn about.
“I saw the subject’s items everywhere, like, I think his living items, tent, sleeping bag, things like that,” testified Officer Gelsomina Cavalli-Singer, who placed a chest seal over the bullet wound on Delgado’s chest as other officers began CPR.
Below is a list of the items police found on or near Delgado after he died, according to evidence forms and the autopsy report included in the Police Bureau’s death investigation. Wording and punctuation are taken mostly verbatim from police documents.
- Red shirt
- Dress shoes (men; black)
- Black jeans
- Black and blue sweatpants
- One pair of gray socks
- One black/gray/green glove (right-handed), located in right rear jeans pocket
- One black/gray/green glove (left-handed), located in left rear jeans pocket
- Light gray jacket
- Black coat
- One black sock w/ blue stripe
- One pair brown/black sunglasses
- Red plastic canister containing less than ¼ ounce of marijuana (from right front jeans pocket)
- $2.11 U.S. Currency: Two $1 bills; one dime; one penny (from left front jeans pocket)
- 2 cents (two pennies) U.S. currency
- 10 cents (one dime) U.S. currency
- One empty 23.5 Fl. Oz. can of pineapple “Earthquake” alcoholic beverage
- Small piece of cardboard
- Black nylon draw-string bag (empty)
- Grey & green sleeping bag
- Grey polar pack, which contained $1.13 U.S. currency (3 quarters; 2 dimes; 2 nickels; 8 pennies); misc. receipts and other items; bottom of aluminum can w/ suspected drug residue; two syringes; two cloth face masks
- Silver flashlight
- Black knit cap
- Black & blue butane torch
- Butane fuel can
- Two tent stakes
- Grey tent
- Red/gray tent canopy
- White/red first aid kit, which contained $1.49 U.S. currency (3 quarters; 6 dimes; 2 nickels; 4 pennies); small plastic bag containing white crystalline substance; small plastic bag containing dark brown tar-like substance; one white “Bayer” pill
- Small gold metal clasp
- One GFM311 airsoft pistol box, which contained misc. papers, a Walmart receipt, and a sterile gauze swab
- Black plastic magazine from GFM311 6mm cal. BB pistol
- One GFM311 Airsoft pistol, black w/ orange tip [available for $26.99 at Amazon.com].