MIDTOWN, Manhattan — There were not enough seats inside the massive Saint Patrick's cathedral for all the New Yorkers whose lives were touched by Steven McDonald.
The overflow crowd, a sea of blue, stretched from 44th to 59th streets along Fifth Avenue and practically everyone had a personal memory of the legendary police officer who famously forgave the 15-year-old who paralyzed him with three gunshots in 1986.
"I was five months old when his shooting occurred," Sergeant Eric Powers of the 81st precinct told PIX11. "When I graduated the police department, he was there and gave us a sense of pride in the department," he added.
Steven McDonald became a symbol of forgiveness and love inspiring law enforcement officers across the country, including my own brother.
"Police officers when crippled and wounded shouldn't fall under the trap of bitterness and anger," Frank Hickey, retired LAPD officer, told PIX11. "It's easy to do and Steven rose above that."
"He was an inspiration to police worldwide," Capt. Brian Hoiberg of the North Brunswick Police Department told PIX11.
Conor McDonald remembered his father as the real Superman.
His emotional eulogy brought McDonald's widow, Patti Ann, to tears and ended with a minute long standing ovation for a life so well-lived.
When PIX11 asked former NYC Police Commissioner Ray Kelly if there has there ever been another police officer like Steven McDonald in the NYPD, Kelly replied, "He is the most remarkable person I ever met."
And retired police detective Mike Sheehan added that the McDonald legacy of selflessness, compassion, forgiveness and love with live on in son, Conor.
"Conor is a wonderful guy, a credit to his father," Sheehan said. "He's going to carry on the legacy."