The streets of midtown Manhattan were lined with police officers and other mourners saying good-bye to NYPD Detective Steven McDonald. McDonald, who had been paralyzed after being shot by a robbery suspect in 1986, died earlier this week at age 59. His son, Conor McDonald, a NYPD sergeant, said at St. Patrick's Cathedral, "Thank you so much for showing tribute to my beautiful, amazing father... I never thought this day would come. My father was the real Superman ... He was the greatest man I could have asked for to be my father."

He also added that his father would call him at 5 a.m. every day before he went on patrol.

It's believed between 12,000 and 15,000 people from New York City and across the country appeared to flood the streets around St. Patrick's Cathedral:

McDonald was 29 and expecting a baby with his wife when he was shot by three times by Shavod Jones, 15, in Central Park. Though paralyzed and requiring a respirator to breath, McDonald forgave Jones, "On some days, when I am not feeling very well, I can get angry. But I have realized that anger is a wasted emotion, and that I have to remember why I became a police officer. 'I'm sometimes angry at the teen-age boy who shot me. But more often I feel sorry for him. I only hope that he can turn his life into helping and not hurting people. I forgive him and hope that he can find peace and purpose in his life."

Jones served eight years in prison, but died three days after his release in a motorcycle crash in Harlem. His mother said that Jones had apologized to McDonald and his family, and after Jones' death, McDonald said, "Much of his life was spent suffering. Now he is at peace and in heaven."

"Here among us, a living example - everything that we aspire to be as a people and a city embodied in one man, Steven McDonald. We feel pain, and we feel joy that we knew him. We learn from him. We learn the right way to live from him. Directly, he touched thousands of lives - tens of thousands - but in a greater way millions were moved by his example because he became the greatest embodiment of what it means to be a member of the NYPD. He was synonymous with all that is great about our Police Department and our city. And he showed that the work of policing was profoundly based on love and compassion for your fellow man and woman, and he lived it every day," Mayor de Blasio said in his remarks yesterday. "Steven McDonald’s road on this Earth was not easy but he showed us what we needed to know. And now we have an obligation to tell his story over and over again here in this city and all across this nation especially at this time."

The NY Times reflected, "[The shooting] came to symbolize a violent city plagued by a crack epidemic, rampant crime and racially infused deaths that commanded the news and made New York a tabloid city... At the time, many New Yorkers considered Central Park a risky place to walk, especially its northern portions, where Officer McDonald was shot. Today, a mugging in the park makes headlines. The spot where the shooting took place now has a vegetarian food stand and footpaths favored by tourists on rented bikes and well-off couples pushing strollers."

NYPD Commissioner James O'Neill said:

Steven was one of the most remarkable men I’ve ever met and one of the most fearless cops to ever don a uniform.

Steven continues to be an icon. He believed that tragedy that befell him was something that happened to him for a reason - to inspire him, to inspire others - so that he could become a messenger.

He often told people that the only thing that could be worse than being shot would have been to nurture revenge in his heart. Had he allowed that to happen, he said, his injury would have extended to his soul and further hurt those he loved. Always in control of his destiny, Steven chose to prevent that spiritual injury. Although he was able to breathe only with the help of a ventilator, Steven’s voice was always strong like his message - his message for improving relations between cops and community and his message of peace and forgiveness.

Although he was able to breathe only with the help of a respirator, Steven’s voice was always strong, like his message. His message for improving relations between cops and community. And his message of peace and forgiveness. Arguably, his life was shaped as much by those three bullets fired by that 15-year-old boy, as by the three words he famously expressed afterward: 'I forgive him.'...

Steven McDonald was the strongest person I know and what we can learn from Steven’s life is this - the cycle of violence that plagues so many lives today can become overcome only by breaking down the walls that separate people. The best tools for doing this, Steven taught us, are love, respect, and forgiveness.

Among the other mourners was David Letterman (Conor McDonald said, "He’s always been by my dad’s side"), Rudy Giuliani, Bill Bratton and Ray Kelly, as well as former New York Ranger Adam Graves.

McDonald was an avid Rangers fan, and the Rangers wore special warm-up jerseys with McDonald's name on the back, and also invited his widow Patricia McDonald and Conor McDonald to drop the puck on the ice during last night's game:

Conor McDonald, who joined the NYPD in 2010, spoke about his father during the game:

McDonald was interred at Holy Road Cemetery in Westbury, Long Island.