Honoring Officer McDonald

PHILADELPHIA - September 23, 2008 - They were there to pay their respects, and provide comfort to Officer McDonald's mother, father and sister. Just a few years ago, the family endured the loss of McDonald's older brother.

Inside Christ our King Church, an emotional memorial mass where the Pastor of this parish called Patrick McDonald a courageous and devoted civil servant.

"In so many families, they know that's their routine," said Father James Callahan. "They go to work every day and there's always that fear of 'Are they coming home?'"

Sister Trudi Helder was McDonald's school principal. She recalls seeing him recently and being proud.

"He was standing there all dressed in his uniform, and he said 'Sister Trudi, do you remember me?' and I said 'Oh, yes Patrick, I certainly do.' And he said 'I'm doing good things.'"

By good things, she meant helping to protect the city during his 8 years with the Philadelphia police force.

News of his death has shattered the entire community where Patrick, an avid athlete, was often seen running through the neighborhood.

"It's just getting out of control! What can we do about it?" said Bob Pollick of Northeast Philadelphia. "It's just senseless."

There was that same sense of outrage from the neighbors of officer Richard Bowes, who provided backup for McDonald and was also shot. He survived with a gunshot wound to the leg.

"He's a good guy, he's a good police officer," said Patti Verzilli of Northeast Philadelphia. "He's a good father, he's a good husband, and he helps people. Not just because it's his job, but because he's a good man."

Funeral arrangements for Patrick McDonald will be made sometime Wednesday.

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