After the shooting left him a quadriplegic, McDonald became an advocate of peace and reconciliation.
Thousands of police officers and law enforcement officials have packed not only Saint Patrick's Cathedral, but Fifth Avenue here in midtown Manhattan to remember NYPD detective Steven McDonald. McDonald, 59, who suffered a heart attack last week, died at a Long Island hospital on Tuesday.
Initially, doctors did not expect McDonald to survive. He also took his message of forgiveness to Israel, Northern Ireland and Bosnia.
"We all know how important that statement was on the streets of New York City", said Monsignor Seamus O'Boyle, a cousin of McDonald's widow who knew the couple since the earliest days of their marriage.
Those who cannot attend the funeral service in person can watch the livestream below.
The cardinal told Catholic New York, newspaper of the New York Archdiocese, that he had visited McDonald in the hospital's intensive care unit and said that the many rosaries and religious statues there represented outward signs of a Catholic faith the detective dearly practiced. In it, McDonald speaks about how much attending games meant to him and his family after he became paralyzed.
McDonald was an avid Rangers fan who once said the team was an integral part of bonding with Conor, who he was unable to play sports with, and "helps me to live day to day with the way that I am". It was McDonald's birthday - about seven months after he had been shot in near Central Park's boathouse.
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One might have expected McDonald's tragic shooting to exacerbate New York City's already roiling divisions and bitterness.
The correspondence ended after McDonald "turned down a request from Mr. Jones's family to seek parole", according to the Times, saying "he was not knowledgeable or capable enough to intervene".
Jones was paroled in 1995 after nearly nine years in prison.
NYPD Commissioner O'Neill said McDonald carved out a model for others to follow. He said the award would continue to honor McDonald as long as the Rangers exist.
On Friday morning, the bagpipes were stilled and only a solemn drumbeat and the peal of a bell could be heard as the NYPD pipe band escorted the hearse to the cathedral.
It was on a routine patrol in 1986 that Steven McDonald's life took a dramatic turn.
"Make me a channel of your peace", Conor began.