BROOKLYN, N.Y. (PIX11) – Troy Patterson Jr. will never forget being a 5-year-old boy in the Intensive Care Unit at Kings County Hospital soon after his 27-year-old father, an NYPD detective, was taken there with a catastrophic gunshot wound to the head. It was Jan. 16, 1990.

“I just remember seeing him hooked up to all these machines,” Troy Patterson, Jr. told PIX11 News Monday, shortly after he flew to New York upon learning of his father’s death.

NYPD Detective Troy Patterson, 60, succumbed to his injuries over the weekend, 33 years after a 15-year-old gunman shot him during an attempted robbery in Bedford-Stuyvesant. The shooter and two other teens had tried to rob the off-duty officer, who was washing his car on Jefferson Avenue, for $20.

“He was a hero,” Troy Patterson, Jr. said. “He made me want to be a better man and a better father to my children.”

Patterson, Jr. is a father to two girls, Detective Patterson’s granddaughters.

At the time Detective Patterson was shot, he was a patrol officer in Brooklyn’s 60th Precinct, and he’d been prolific in taking guns off the street. The NYPD promoted the severely wounded officer to the rank of detective in 2016.

Patterson’s mother, Katherine, took care of him for many years at various rehab facilities in New Jersey until she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and later died.

Patterson Jr. said his father was not in a coma for 33 years. Rather, the detective lived in a vegetative state, confined to a wheelchair.  

“He wasn’t on any machines,” he said.

Troy Patterson Jr. and his father, NYPD Det. Troy Patterson Sr. (Credit: Troy Patterson Jr.)

Patterson Jr. and other relatives firmly believe the wounded detective was aware of their love during all their visits.

“He would feel our presence,” Patterson Jr. said of his father. “He did recognize a lot of people’s voices. He would listen. He would laugh.”

Patterson Jr. said he had fond memories of driving in his dad’s Nissan Maxima as a child.

“We used to always go to Red Lobster,” he recalled.

Now, at age 38, Patterson Jr. is getting ready to bury his father, 33 years after life, as the young officer knew it, had ended.

Detective Patterson spent more than half his life in a vegetative state, but his family’s love never died. And neither did the love of his fellow cops.

Paul DiGiacamo, the president of the Detective’s Endowment Association, released a statement in the late detective’s honor, vowing to “always remember the service and sacrifice of Det. Troy Patterson. His life and his death serve as a constant reminder of the horrific toll that gun violence takes on our city, state and nation.”