Thousands of officers and civilians lined New York City's Fifth Avenue outside St. Patrick's Cathedral Friday to pay their respects to hero NYPD Detective Steven McDonald, who died earlier this week.
An armada of police and emergency vehicles escorted the hearse carrying McDonald’s body from Long Island to New York City Friday morning.
Members of various Long Island Fire Departments lined the streets and saluted the casket as it went across the Long Island Expressway.
Cardinal Timothy Dolan officiated the service and also penned a special editorial for the hero cop on Tuesday in the New York Daily News
In the article, he called McDonald "a role model for forgiveness in the face of tragedy."
During Friday’s service, he thanked McDonald for his "splendid life of service."
The NYPD cop was investigating a bicycle theft in Central Park when he was shot three times by a 15-year-old boy on July 12, 1986.
His wife Patti Ann, who was pregnant with their son Conor at the time, was reportedly told he would not survive his wounds. McDonald lived, but never walked again, and relied 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 leaving prison.
McDonald died Tuesday after suffering a heart attack on January 6. He was 59.
On Friday morning, the bagpipes were stilled and only a solemn drumbeat and the peal of a bell could be heard as the NYPD pipe band escorted the hearse to the cathedral. Then, as a lone piper played amazing grace, the coffin was carried inside.
Silence on 5th Avenue as a sea of officers in blue come to attention. We gather now to honor Det. Steven McDonald. pic.twitter.com/8es5nchZoM— NYPD NEWS (@NYPDnews) January 13, 2017
Among those in attendance for Friday’s service were New York City Mayor de Blasio, former mayors David Dinkins and Rudy Giuliani, NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill and his predecessor Bill Bratton.
The officer is survived by his wife and son, Conor, who following in his father’s footsteps as a member of the New York Police Department in 2010. He is now a sergeant.
On Friday night, McDonald’s favorite sports team, the New York Rangers, will honor the city’s hero before their game at Madison Square Garden.
An award established in 1987 was named in his honor, the Steven McDonald Extra Effort Award, which has been given out each season to a member of the Rangers team who goes above and beyond the game and gives back to the community.