NEW YORK — The son of Det. Steven McDonald during a Friday funeral Mass remembered the iconic NYPD officer as a real-life superhero, dedicated father and man of faith who "made it his mission to have us all realize love must win."
McDonald was paralyzed from the neck down in 1986 when he was shot in the line of duty. At the time, his wife was pregnant with their son, Conor, who was born six months later.
The older McDonald wasn't expected to survive the shooting, but did, and became an iconic symbol of courage and faith after forgiving the shooter.
He was able to see Conor follow him into the NYPD, and McDonald watched proudly as his son was promoted to detective, and later sergeant in 2016.
“When many of us would have let anger destroy our hearts, my father forgave the young man who shot him every single day. He made it his mission to have us all realize love must win,” Sgt .Conor McDonald said.
Despite spending the rest of his life in a wheelchair and dependent on a ventilator, Conor said his father kept his faith and conquered life.
“I never thought this day would come. To me, as to many of you, my dad was a real superman,” Conor said. “There were lots of tears shed, but more hugs shared.”
And no matter what, McDonald remained by his son's side, from taking him to Rangers games when he was a child and cheering him on when Conor went on to play hockey, visiting him weekly at Boston College "just to have lunch at Applebees," and later, calling him every day at 5 a.m. to wish him a "good morning" while he patrolled.
McDonald's love and compassion was visible to all who knew him, especially for his wife in the moments after he was shot, Conor said.
“He knew he had to fight to see her again, and fight he did," Conor said. "My parents created the most phenomenal life out of such darkness. It was due to their unmatched, unconditional devotion for each other, that I witnessed from the beginning of my life. What a lucky son.”