The New York Police Department is mourning the loss of former NYPD detective Troy Patterson, who spent more than three decades in a coma after being shot in the head during a robbery in Brooklyn.
Patterson recently died at a rehabilitation center in New Jersey.
“It is with a heavy heart that the Detectives’ Endowment Association (DEA) announces the passing of Detective Troy Patterson. Troy was shot and severely injured in 1990 as he took police action when three criminals attempted to rob him while he was off duty,” the DEA wrote in a statement following the passing.
According to officials, the off-duty officer was washing his car in Bedford-Stuyvesant on January 16, 1990, when he was approached by three local men who demanded $20. During the altercation, one of the men shot Patterson in the head, leaving him unconscious for the rest of his life.
Patterson was 27 at the time.
Despite being in a vegetative state for 33 years, Patterson’s friends and family said they believed he was aware of their presence.
Patterson’s son, Troy, who was just five years old at the time of the shooting, told the Daily News several years ago that “Sometimes, he hears my voice, he makes a moan, a noise. I can’t make out what he’s saying, but he definitely knows our presence.”
Patterson’s mother, Katherine Patterson, cared for him every day until she was stricken with multiple sclerosis, and then his aunt, Doris Patterson-Brown, took over her care.
Following her death, Patterson’s aunt, May, took on the role of caretaker.
Patterson joined the NYPD in 1983 and worked out of the 60th precinct in Coney Island at the time of the shooting. He was promoted to detective following the tragic incident.
After the shooting, police arrested three young men, Tracy Clark, Vincent Robbins and Darren Crawford.
Clark, who was accused of being the gunman, was just 15 years old at the time. The trio was convicted of various charges related to the shooting and sent to prison, but all have since been released.
Clark, who now lives in South Carolina, has a criminal history of multiple drug offenses and served 15 years in prison for selling drugs.
Patterson’s former partner, Darryl Hinkson, mourned the officer’s loss.
“He was a good cop. To me, the best,” Hinkson said of Patterson.
Meanwhile, retired detective Clifton Hollingsworth, who attended the police academy with Patterson, said at the vigil: “His passion was to protect this city and to protect those who lived in this city. Troy Patterson’s legacy will live forever. He was a fighter, a trooper.”
The DEA mourned Patterson’s death and pledged to make sure he and his family are never forgotten.
“Detective Troy Patterson was a hero of New York City who inspired hundreds of fellow detectives to continue his courageous, important crime-fighting work,” DEA President Paul DiGiacomo stated. “Troy’s legacy will forever be one of service and sacrifice. The DEA will ensure he and his family are never forgotten.”