NYPD Detective Steven McDonald Honored, Laid to Rest
But on that day at Bellevue, McDonald had already managed to communicate a message to his wife, Patti Ann, who read McDonald's words: "I forgive him and hope that he can find peace and objective in his life".
This morning Fifth Avenue was closed as police officers and the NYPD Emerald Society prepared to process into the funeral Mass of Detective McDonald, which was celebrated by Cardinal Timothy Dolan.
McDonald died Tuesday at the age of 59, after being hospitalized Friday for a heart attack. He also became an advocate for peace in troubled lands, visiting Northern Ireland, Israel and Bosnia to take his message to communities in conflict.
"No one could have predicted that Steven would touch so many people, in NY and around the world", Police Commissioner James O'Neill said in a statement.
"Steven McDonald meant more to the New York Rangers than we could ever mean to him". As the congregation stood and applauded, Conor added for emphasis: "My father forgave the man who shot him every single day".
"We learned the right way to live from him", de Blasio said, adding that McDonald is a "reminder that we all can go farther".
Mayor Bill de Blasio ordered flags to be lowered to half-staff in McDonald's honor.
One might have expected McDonald's tragic shooting to exacerbate New York City's already roiling divisions and bitterness.
McDonald was 29 when, during a plain-clothes patrol of Central Park, he leveled his gun on three teenage boys he feared were acting suspiciously. How he dealt with that life-altering encounter in Central Park inspired thousands.
McDonald, who had earlier served in the US Army, publicly forgave the teenager later.
NYPD Commissioner O'Neill said McDonald carved out a model for others to follow. But more often I feel sorry for him. Jones died in a 1995 motorcycle accident shortly after being released from prison on parole.
As much as he will be missed by those who loved him most, they can take comfort that his spirit will live on. A funeral procession will begin at St. Agnes Parish Center in Rockville Centre and move along the Long Island Expressway before reaching St. Patrick's Cathedral in Midtown Manhattan. Then the trumpeters played a slow rendition of "America the lovely", as the flag-draped coffin carrying McDonald's remains was placed in a gray hearse.
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