To the men and women of the New York City Police Department:
This afternoon one of our own, Detective First Grade Steven McDonald, passed away while in the comforting presence of his wife Patti Ann; his son Conor, an NYPD sergeant; and his friends and colleagues.
When Steven was shot while patrolling Central Park on July 12, 1986, it was an absolute miracle he survived – and the experts predicted his catastrophic injuries would take him from us within five years. No one could have predicted Steven would continue his fight as a quadriplegic for more than three decades, and would so indelibly touch the lives of so many during that span.
His life forever altered, Steven traveled across oceans, to communities far and wide, to spread his message of hope, courage, forgiveness, and redemption. He even publicly forgave the 15-year-old boy who shot and left him for dead that Saturday afternoon 30 years ago.
Steven got the most pleasure from speaking with you, his fellow cops. He would visit your commands, and your roll calls, on any tour. And he would talk about using tactics and watching out for one another. He wanted every police officer to lead a life of significance, to feel safe, and to be safe.
Steven is a model for each of us as we go about our daily lives, on duty and off. He was a unique source of inspiration and unrivaled pride to people the world over. And he will forever be one of us.
James P. O’Neill