Police officers across Queens remembered Detective Steven McDonald, who died on Tuesday afternoon after suffering a heart attack last week, as an inspiration to generations of New Yorkers and cops alike.
McDonald, 59, was left a quadriplegic after being shot by a robber while on duty in Central Park in 1986. Over the last 30 years, he became an ambassador of sorts for the NYPD, visiting local precincts, churches and schools and sharing his inspirational story of survival, faith and forgiveness.
“No one could have predicted that Steven would touch so many people, in New York and around the world,” said Police Commissioner James O’Neill. “Like so many cops, Steven joined the NYPD to make a difference in people’s lives. And he accomplished that every day. He is a model for each of us as we go about our daily lives. He will be greatly missed, and will always remain a part of our family.”
Councilman Paul Vallone hoped that the McDonald family would “embrace the love of an entire city that Detective McDonald defended with his life,” adding that the late detective would “forever be one of NYPD’s finest, our hero, champion of courage and forgiveness.”
McDonald is survived by his wife Patti Ann and son Conor, who is a sergeant with the NYPD.