NYPD Det. Steven McDonald, a Malverne resident who was left a quadriplegic when he was shot on the job in Central Park 30 years ago, remained hospitalized Sunday in critical condition after having a heart attack, according to an NYPD spokeswoman.
McDonald, 59, suffered the heart attack Friday, NYPD officials said.
In 1986, McDonald was paralyzed from the neck down after he was shot while on patrol in the park. He survived his injuries and publicly forgave 15-year-old Shavod Jones, who was convicted of attempted murder, sentenced to 10 years in prison and died in a motorcycle accident after being released in 1995.
McDonald continued as an active member of the police department, despite breathing with the help of a respirator and using a wheelchair, and was promoted to detective.
Malverne residents Tom Grech and Don Pupke used Facebook to organize a candlelight vigil for McDonald Monday at 8 p.m. at the Malverne gazebo on Church Street in the village’s downtown.
“Steven is known and loved in our community,” Pupke said Sunday. “I think the general sense is everyone wants to show their love and support for Steven and his family.”
Grech said hundreds were expected to attend.
“Steven has been a pillar of inspiration of our village for all the years he’s lived here,” he said. “We’re honored to be able to keep them in our thoughts and prayers as this difficult situation evolves.”
NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill tweeted a message of support on Sunday morning, writing: “As you go about your business today, keep NYPD Det. McDonald and his family in your thoughts as he continues to fight.”
Conor McDonald — the son of the detective and Patricia Ann McDonald, the mayor of Malverne — is an NYPD sergeant who joined the force in 2010.
The family could not be reached for comment Sunday.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio also tweeted support for McDonald, calling him “courageous and inspirational.”