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Steven McDonald, 26 others added to NYPD Hall of Heroes

The names, inscribed on plaques, join those of over 850 others memorialized in the department’s Hall of Heroes.

Patti Ann McDonald, wife of the late Det.

Patti Ann McDonald, wife of the late Det. Steven McDonald, is embraced after a plaque honoring her husband was unveiled at the Central Park Precinct in Manhattan on the first anniversary of Det. McDonald's death Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2018. Photo Credit: Craig Ruttle

To the muted strains of theme music from the film “Gladiator,” the NYPD during a poignant ceremony Friday unveiled the names of 27 officers and civilians who died in recent years in the line of duty.

Among those honored were detectives Steven McDonald, who died in January 2017 after spending more than 30 years as a quadriplegic after being shot on the job, and Miosotis Familia, a mother of three who was shot dead by a mentally ill gunman, also in 2017.

The names, inscribed on plaques, join those of over 934 others memorialized in the department’s Hall of Heroes at One Police Plaza, including one who died in 1849. That number includes line of duty deaths of police officers, deaths in the military, deaths from diseases attributed to the Sept. 11 terror attack and NYPD civilians who died on duty.

Friday’s event was this year’s installment of the department’s annual Memorial Day event, which takes places every May 4.

“Every name on these walls is a life spent serving others; every name is a person who cared deeply about our city and everyone living in it,“ Police Commissioner James O’Neill told a crowd of hundreds, including Mayor Bill de Blasio and former Mayor David Dinkins.

In addition to McDonald and Familia, Sgt. Donald S. Conniff, who died in December 2015 from injuries sustained years before when his vehicle was hit by a drunken driver, was also honored.

The names of some 22 other officers and two civilians who died from illnesses attributed to their work in rescue and recovery after the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attack were also added to the Hall of Heroes. In total, 175 names are on two special plaques devoted to Sept. 11 victims, including 23 department members who died that day. The second such plaque was unveiled Friday.

With Friday’s additional names, the total of all those honored in the Hall of Heroes is now 961.

After the ceremony, the families of McDonald and Familia spoke briefly with reporters.

“Having Steven’s name on that wall is, like I said, beautiful, but bittersweet,” said McDonald’s widow, Patricia Ann, who’s the mayor of Malverne. She said she and her husband had never given a thought to his name finding its way to the Hall of Heroes.

McDonald also said she and her son Conor, an NYPD sergeant, were moved by de Blasio’s remarks about the way McDonald inspired so many after his injuries.

Familia’s daughter Genesis Villella, 20, held back tears as she spoke of seeing her mother honored.

“To see my mom’s name up there, forever memorialized and in a place like this in One Police Plaza on a wall of heroes, is just a little painful because it is literally set in stone, what happened to her,” said Villella, flanked by her younger brother and sister, Peter and Delilah.

“But it brings me joy that her legacy will be remembered forever,” said Villella.

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