“My dad wanted to make sure his time on earth wasn't wasted. He loved the NYPD to the end.”
The words of Conor McDonald were proven to be reciprocated as thousands of NYPD officers paid tribute to his father, Detective Steven McDonald, on Friday in Manhattan. He died Tuesday.
McDonald, 59, was buried following the morning funeral Mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral on Fifth Avenue.
The NYPD officer was paralyzed in 1986 after being shot three times — in the neck, wrist and right eye — while investigating a spate of bike thefts in Central Park. He had been on the force just shy of two years.
McDonald survived and lived the rest of his life on a ventilator. When his newborn son was baptized soon after, the officer forgave his teenage shooter.
“Had I sought revenge, I would have been a dead man already," he said. "Forgiveness grows understanding and tolerance.”
At the funeral, Police Commissioner James O'Neill sounded a similar theme, describing McDonald's tireless efforts to promote peace around the world.
"In the three decades following the shooting, Steven became an international ambassador for the NYPD and for his faith, and a larger-than-life symbol of forgiveness," he said. "His global mission of goodwill and rebirth took him to the Middle East, Bosnia and Northern Ireland — where he promoted reconciliation between Protestants and Catholics."
McDonald died in a Long Island hospital after going into cardiac arrest on Saturday.
“He was synonymous with all that is great about our police department and city,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said at the funeral.