NEW YORK — NYPD Det. Steven McDonald died Tuesday, but his legacy lives on as an inspiration to others.
McDonald was paralyzed in a shooting while on the job 30 years ago. He was hospitalized Friday after he suffered a major heart attack.
Mayor Bill de Blasio issued a statement Tuesday to mourn the loss of a New York icon.
“His words encouraged all of us to continue to bring police and communities closer together,” said de Blasio. “The story of Detective Steven McDonald needs to be understood across the United States, especially as we work to heal the wounds of the past. There is no greater example of honor and service to others. Let it be our mission to continue his work.”
Police Commissioner James O’Neill called McDonald a “source of inspiration & incredible hope to people the world over.”
McDonald was a huge fan of the New York Rangers. The team established the Steven McDonald Extra Effort Award in 1987 to honor the player each year who goes above and beyond the call of duty, both on and off the ice. The Rangers called McDonald their friend and hero.
Public Advocate Tish James remembered McDonald’s dedication to New York.
The Sergeants Benevolent Association said McDonald had been a role model for 30 years.
“He turned a horrific situation into his life’s mission and even forgave the person who shot him many years ago,” the SBA wrote on Facebook.
McDonald was the most courageous and forgiving man Patrick Lynch, the president of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, had ever known.
“Despite the tremendous pain in his life, both physical and emotional, his concern for his fellow police officers and for the people of New York City never wavered,” Lynch said. “Since that fateful day in 1986, Steven dedicated his life to fighting hate and encouraging forgiveness through his actions. He was a powerful force for all that is good and is an inspiration to all of us.”
“There are no words,” said former NYPD Commissioner Bernard Kerik.
Cardinal Timothy Dolan called McDonald an icon of mercy and forgiveness and said he was a “shining example of the best of what the New York Police Department represents.”