The Portland Police Bureau has confirmed the man police killed on Friday in Lents Park was Robert Douglas Delgado, 46, a Portland native.
“He’s like a stray puppy just looking for somebody to take him in,” said Jennifer Fahey, a longtime friend of Delgado’s who often let him stay at her house and made sure he was taken care of. “That’s what we tried to do but he wouldn’t stay at my place for too long, he’s always on the go.”
Delgado was shot and killed by Portland police officer Zachary DeLong Friday in Southeast Portland’s Lents Park. The Portland Police Bureau said DeLong and other officers responded to a call for a “white man pointing a gun in the park.”
Responding officers fired less-lethal 40mm munitions at Delgado before DeLong shot and killed him. DeLong, an 8-year veteran of PPB assigned to East Precinct, is currently on administrative leave while PPB investigates the shooting.
PPB has not confirmed if a weapon was recovered at the scene.
Fahey said Delgado had suffered from mental health issues for as long as she’s known him but that he was never dangerous. She said Delgado, who was unhoused, was frequently beat up or had his belongings stolen by other people on the street. He often thought other unhoused people were undercover cops.
“He’s had such a hard life,” she said. “He’s always thinking the cops are after him. The CIA, the feds. He was so scared of cops.”
She said Delgado was well known in the neighborhood, including to police.
“They know he doesn’t have any weapons,” she said. “He’s always out here, he’s always involved with the cops.”
Attempts by friends and family to get Delgado help were hampered by his mistrust of institutions but Fahey remembered him as a good person who happened to have some issues.
“But who doesn’t?” she asked. “He didn’t deserve that.”
Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt released a statement Saturday saying his office is in the early stages of a criminal investigation against the officer and that it’s important for them to be methodical and not rushed.
“It is expected that this case will be presented to a grand jury to determine whether the use of deadly force was a legal act of self-defense and/or self-defense of others,” Schmidt said in the statement. “We remain committed to an open and transparent process. Our objective is to seek answers.”
The statement said Officer DeLong will be interviewed within 48 hours of the shooting. Schmidt also condemned the “deliberate and criminal actions of individuals rioting in downtown Portland on Friday night” and said those cases will be reviewed when they are referred to his office by PPB.