11/27/07 — Man, 222, found in car, shot

View Archive

Man, 222, found in car, shot

By Nick Hiltunen
Published in News on November 27, 2007 1:47 PM

Stephen Craft remembers Ernesto Venegas Delgado as a hardworking, "very family-oriented guy," who worked his way up to a management position at a landscaping tree farm.

And Craft wonders if an early check before the Thanksgiving holiday might have led to his friend and co-worker's death.

Delgado, 22, of Appletree Road, Stantonsburg, was found dead Wednesday night on Randall Lane from a gunshot wound to the torso, Goldsboro police report.

He was leaning against the right side of the driver's seat when Officer James F. Smith found him, according to investigative reports.

Delgado's green 1999 Plymouth Voyager van was in a ditch around 11:30 p.m. on Wednesday, police spokesman Chad Calloway said.

Calloway called emergency medical workers, who pronounced Delgado dead on their arrival, according to the report.

Police suspect a handgun was the weapon used to kill Delgado, according to the report.

Craft, general manager of The TreeSource in Greenville, said employees are usually paid Friday, but that they got checks on Wednesday because banks would be closed for the Thanksgiving holiday.

"It's a pretty big shock, I don't know what happened," Craft said. "The word of mouth is somebody saw him cashing his check."

Craft and Delgado started work at The TreeSource within weeks of one another a few years ago, and the pair worked their way up to management positions, Craft said.

"We've grown a lot as a farm and nursery since then," Craft said of the eight-employee facility.

Craft described Delgado as a hard worker "who did everything."

"He managed employees, did irrigation work, sprayed chemicals, ran crews, helped customers," Craft said. "He was a very intelligent gentleman."

Craft said the loss would be especially great for Delgado's large family.

"He has two kids himself, and then he had a brother and two sisters, and then stepbrothers and sisters, so they had a pretty big family," Craft said.

Delgado was the family member with English skills, so he often played the role of translator for family members, Craft said.

"He was bilingual. He was the heart of the family, and he did all the communicating for most of the family," Craft said.

The Goldsboro Police Department did not release information on the shooting until the department issued a press release late Monday.

No reason was given for the delay in releasing the report or the information.