In January 1990, Troy Patterson was the victim of a robbery. The New York police officer was off duty washing his car in front of his house when three men asked him for $20. One of the perpetrators - a 15-year-old teenager - shot Patterson in the head. The policeman was 27 years old at the time.
The three perpetrators were arrested a little later, and all three were sentenced to prison. Patterson, then newly engaged and father of a five-year-old son, survived the attack but never woke up. He fell into a coma and died 33 years after the crime, according to the New York Police Department. Patterson died in a nursing home in New Jersey, according to the New York Daily News.
Paul DiGiacomo, chief of the police union DEA, called him a "hero of New York City who inspired hundreds of colleagues to continue his courageous and important crime-fighting work". As the "New York Post" reports, Patterson had received seven commendations for his work during his active service as a police officer. In 2016 he was promoted to detective. "The DEA will ensure that he and his family are never forgotten," DiGiacomo promised. Patterson leaves a "legacy of service and sacrifice".
Although the crime was several decades ago and Patterson was no longer able to perform his duties, he and his fate were apparently always present to his colleagues in New York. Police officers kept a vigil at his bedside every year, according to Judith Harrison, deputy chief of the New York City Police Department. For decades, they had hoped for a miracle—an improvement in Patterson's condition. When Patterson's body was removed, many police officers lined up to salute their deceased colleague. "We will continue to honor his legacy and promise never to forget our fallen hero," the New York City Police Department tweeted.
Sources: "New York Post" // New York Police Department on TwitterDetectives' Endowment Association on Twitter