February 13, 2005

Officer killed in crash mourned


officer Jehova DelgadoWhen Jehova Delgado left for work in the morning, all his neighbors knew it. They would hear Delgado, 27, whistling an upbeat tune while he waited for the elevator on the 16th floor of the Tompkins Houses in Bedford-Stuyvesant, where he still lived with his parents. It came as no surprise that Delgado, a police officer, would greet his work day with a tune. His friends and neighbors said that since he was a boy, Delgado longed to join the Police Department. "He always talked about it," said Lori Williams, a friend and neighbor of Delgado and his family. "He loved being a cop. If he didn't pass that test, I don't know what he would've done," she said of the police exam. Delgado was killed on his way to work yesterday morning when he was struck by an SUV that ran a stop sign at the intersection of Central and Putnam Avenues in Bushwick. He was going to work overtime. Delgado joined the department in July 2001 and was assigned to one of the toughest precincts in the city, the 75th, where he was admired as a dedicated officer with an easygoing personality. "He is part of a group of guys from the academy who came in the summer before Sept. 11," a police source said. "They had their baptism by fire -- a quick and fast and hard indoctrination into the police life." Delgado's parents emigrated from Puebla, Mexico. Delgado was the second oldest of five children, who were born in the United States. "They are such a close-knit group," Williams said. "They're a family who shouldn't have been in the projects. There was no family drama, no domestic incidents, nothing. They were a perfect family." Neighbors said Delgado, at a young age, plotted a course different from those of many of his peers. He didn't get in trouble. He didn't spend hours on the streets. He never wavered from his goal of becoming a cop, they said. Once he became an officer, he volunteered to be a security guard at the Tompkins Houses' annual block party in August. Residents said that despite living in one of the city's more dangerous housing projects, the 16th floor remained immune form the crime plaguing other floors. "There was never any problems up here on this floor," said Betty Scott, 60. "I was sorry to hear what happened because he was such a nice guy." Delgado took time to talk to his peers who were on a different path, neighbors said. At Williams' behest, Delgado tried to convince her two sons, 21 and 23, to consider changing their lives. Williams said her children were often getting into trouble and her older son was once shot at. "He told them, 'Hey, I'm watching you. I don't want to come to you,'" she said. Williams, who was just one of the neighborhood women who had a crush on Delgado, said Delgado believed in his job. "He wore that uniform well," she said.

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