NYPD Detective First Grade Steven McDonald died on Tuesday after suffering a massive heart attack a few days prior.
McDonald was shot on July 12, 1986. The shooting left him quadriplegic.
NYPD Commissioner James P. O’Neill confirmed the news:
It is with great sadness that Police Commissioner James P. O’Neill, and the men and women of the New York City Police Department, announce the death of Detective First Grade Steven McDonald, who passed away shortly after 1 p.m. today at North Shore University Hospital on Long Island while in the comforting presence of his wife Patti Ann; his son Conor, an NYPD sergeant; his friends and colleagues. Detective McDonald, 59, was appointed to the NYPD on July 16, 1984. He was shot and critically injured while patrolling Central Park in 1986, just four days shy of his second anniversary as a police officer. In the time since, Detective McDonald has been a unique source of inspiration and unrivaled pride to people the world over. A quadriplegic, he visited police station houses, schools, church groups and more, spreading his message of faith, forgiveness, and peace. “No one could have predicted that Steven would touch so many people, in New York and around the world,” said Commissioner 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.”
SHOOTING BACKGROUND – (Wikipedia) – A former U.S. Navy hospital corpsman and third generation police officer, McDonald was shot three times in the line of duty by 15-year-old Shavod Jones whom he was questioning about bicycle thefts in Central Park. Detective McDonald and a co-worker were on patrol in Central Park, because there had been reports about a robbery in the park.
Three young boys between the age of 13 and 15 looked suspicious and started running away when the two police officers went towards them. They split up, and McDonald found them hiding in some bushes. He started to question them, and noticed something in the sock of one of the boys and when he wanted to see what it was, he was shot and nearly killed. The first of the three bullets that hit Steven McDonald hit him in the head, above his eye. The second hit his throat which caused him to have a speaking disability and the third shattered his spine, paralyzing him from the neck down and leaving him quadriplegic and in need of a ventilator.
Jones served nine years in prison for the shooting, and was killed in a motorcycle accident on September 9, 1995, three days after his release on parole. Earlier, Jones called Detective Steven McDonald to apologize, but the two never met in person after the incident.
Several months after his injuries, McDonald reported to the press that he had forgiven the 15 year-old Jones for his actions. McDonald discusses the reasons for his forgiveness in some detail in the foreword of a book entitled, “Why Forgive?”, written by Johann Cristoff Arnold, a pastor and friend.