NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Thursday, January 28, 2016, 8:24 PM
Commissioner Bill Bratton hands certificate to Conor McDonald, who was promoted to detective Thursday.
His new detective shield bears the number of a man who helped save his father’s life.
Conor McDonald, 28, son of NYPD Detective Steven McDonald, paralyzed in a 1986 Central Park shooting, took another step in following his hero dad — earning his own gold detective’s shield.
The number — 97 — recalls another detective, Brian Mulheren, who pushed for his father to get a critical hospital transfer.
Steven McDonald was shot and paralyzed from the neck down by a teenage bicycle thief on July 12, 1986. His wife was pregnant with Conor at the time.
After the shooting, he was rushed to Harlem’s Metropolitan Hospital, where his prognosis was grim. Mulheren convinced him he needed to be transferred to Bellevue.
(L to R) Bratton, Chief of Department James O’Neill, Detective Steven McDonald, Patti Ann McDonald, Conor and former Mayor David Dinkins.
“My dad was on his death bed in Metropolitan. Brian pretty much knocked him to his senses and told him that he needed a second opinion,” said Conor McDonald, a five-year veteran.
“So Brian was very influential in getting my dad from Metropolitan to Bellevue (Hospital).”
As he watched Conor at a One Police Plaza promotion ceremony Thursday, Steven McDonald, dressed in full uniform, beamed with pride.
Mulheren, now retired, said he was honored to have Conor wear his shield number. Next July 12 — the 30th anniversary of the shooting — he would gather as he does every year for a small mass at Steven McDonald’s home.
Conor McDonald kisses his father Steven after being promoted to detective.
Former mayor David Dinkins, a family friend, produced a photo of him holding Conor as a toddler, with a caption written in marker: “You are our future.”
“This is a very special family. Steve, what a guy. So this is a very special day for many of us,” said Dinkins, who was Manhattan Borough president when Steven McDonald was wounded.
Conor McDonald said he was honored to wear the same uniform as Wenjian Liu, Rafael Ramos, Brian Moore and Randolph Holder, the four NYPD officers killed in the line of duty since December 2014.
“I’m very emotional right now,” he said. “It means a lot, especially the past year.”