New York Police Detective Steven McDonald, who famously forgave the teen who left him paralyzed in a 1986 shooting, died Tuesday. He was 59.
The decorated and revered detective never recovered from a heart attack he suffered Friday at his Long Island home.
The NYPD cop was investigating a bicycle theft in Central Park when he was shot three times on July 12, 1986. His wife, Patti Ann — pregnant at the time — was told he wouldn’t live through the afternoon, WCBS News reported.
He survived, but never walked again, depending on a ventilator to help him breathe.
He became an internationally known advocate for peace after forgiving teenage shooter Savod Jones, who served nine years behind bars. Jones was killed in a motorcycle accident just days after he left prison.
“No one could have predicted that Steven would touch so many people, in New York and around the world,” Police Commissioner James O’Neill said. “Like so many cops, Steven joined the NYPD to make a difference in people’s lives.
“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.”
Police union president Pat Lynch called McDonald “a true American hero,” and said he was “the most courageous and forgiving man I have ever known.”
Rest In Peace Steven McDonald.— New York Rangers (@NYRangers) January 10, 2017
Our friend. Our hero. Above and beyond. pic.twitter.com/6xOHSGnlyO
Since his shooting, McDonald “dedicated his life to fighting hate and encouraging forgiveness... He was a powerful force for all that is good and is an inspiration to all of us."
His only son Conor followed in father's NYPD footsteps, joining the force in 2010. He is now a sergeant.