NEW YORK—A New York City police officer who spent more than three decades in a vegetative state after being shot in the head during a botched robbery has died, officials said.
Detective Troy Patterson, who was off duty when he was shot on Jan. 16, 1990, died Saturday, Detectives Endowment Association President Paul DiGiacomo said Monday.
Patterson was washing his car on a street in Brooklyn when he was approached by three young men who demanded $20, police said. One of the robbers, who was 15 years old, shot Patterson.
Patterson suffered a catastrophic injury and spent the next 33 years in what news reports describe as a vegetative state, though supporters held out hope that he would regain consciousness.
NYPD Assistant Chief Judith Harrison said during a vigil for Patterson last year that she was “hoping for a miracle” more than 30 years after the shooting.
DiGiacomo, who visited Patterson in his rehabilitation facility, said the wounded detective could respond with body movements.
A 27-year-old patrolman when he was shot, Patterson was later promoted to detective.
“He was a very, very respected member of the NYPD,” DiGiacomo said. “He will be missed.”
Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell said on Twitter:“The NYPD mourns his loss and extends our continued support to his family & friends.”
The three would-be robbers all served prison time for charges related to the shooting and have been released, DiGiacomo said.