Paralyzed NYPD detective and lifelong Long Islander Steven McDonald has died at the age of 59. He suffered a heart attack on Friday and died Tuesday.
McDonald was an NYPD rookie in 1986 when he was shot 3 times by a teenage bicycle thief in Central Park. He was not expected to survive, but he did and on the day of his newborn son’s baptism (while still in the hospital) McDonald stunned the world by offering the young shooter absolution saying, “I forgive him, and hope that he can find peace and purpose in his life.” That was the beginning of a lifelong mission to preach the power of forgiveness and peace.
The shooting left McDonald a quadriplegic. But after a lengthy rehabilitation, and with the help of a respirator and a wheelchair, McDonald returned to duty with the NYPD, going to precincts throughout the city to talk to young officers on the force. McDonald was also a familiar figure on Long Island traveling to schools to address children about the power of mercy and forgiveness. But McDonald also took his message around the world as well, traveling on missions of peace to Northern Ireland, Bosnia and the Middle East.
The Daily News said, “The paralyzed cop miraculously survived for the next three decades, living to see the birth of his son and become a global voice for peace and forgiveness across an extraordinary and unexpected life.”
Mayor de Blasio said, “New York City is heartbroken by the loss of NYPD Detective Steven McDonald, who for 30 years has been this city’s greatest example of heroism and grace,”
Rep. Pete King tweeted, “NYPD Det. Steven McDonald was a great friend & man of enormous courage & spirit. My prayers are w Patty Anne/Connor. I mourn his death.”
McDonald’s son, Conor McDonald, followed in his father’s footsteps, joining the NYPD in 2010.
Read more about the impact and extraordinary life of Long Island’s Steven McDonald HERE
NYPD Det. Steven McDonald photo provided by YouTube API