MALVERNE, N.Y. — Conor McDonald, 29, wasn’t born yet, when his father, Steven, suffered a catastrophic gunshot wound in the line of duty.
He never knew what it was like to enjoy a bear hug with his dad or play a game of catch. But he certainly received immense love from his father, and their bond ran deep.
“I’ll see you on the other side Daddio,” Conor posted on Facebook Tuesday afternoon, several hours after Det. Steven McDonald was removed from life support. “I love you forever.”
Conor McDonald posted a poignant photo of him kissing his dad’s forehead, while the elder McDonald had his eyes closed, obviously savoring the father/son moment.
Steven McDonald was his son’s present age, 29, when he was shot in the head, throat and spine by a troubled, teenaged shooter on July 12, 1986. It happened in Central Park. Steven McDonald was newly married and his wife, Patti Ann, was three months pregnant when the shooting happened.
Conor Patrick McDonald was born on Jan. 29, 1987, and he was baptized by John Cardinal O’Connor in Bellevue Hospital on Steven McDonald’s 30th birthday.
Over the years, the family marched together in the annual St. Patrick’s Day parade.
In 2010, Conor followed his father into the NYPD. In 2016, Stephen McDonald beamed with pride, wearing his dress uniform, when his son was promoted on two different occasions at Police Headquarters: first to detective, and later in the year to sergeant.
After Steven McDonald suffered a massive heart attack on Jan. 6, Conor kept a vigil at his father’s bedside with his mother.
On Sunday morning, he posted a Facebook photo of him marching next to his dad’s wheelchair in a recent Saint Patrick’s Day parade.
Now, he’s sharing a photo that speaks volumes about the love and respect they had for each other.
“I’ll see you on the other side Daddio,” he wrote. “I love you forever.”