• Search

Hero Down: New York Police Department Det. Troy Patterson Dies 33 Years After Shooting Left Him In Coma

Brooklyn, NY – New York Police Department (NYPD) Detective Troy Patterson died on Saturday night, more than 33 years after he was shot in the head during a botched robbery that left him in a coma for the rest of his life.

Det. Patterson, 60, was just 27 years old when the off-duty attack occurred on Jan. 16, 1990, the New York Post reported.

The newly-engaged officer was washing his vehicle on Jefferson Avenue in Bedford-Stuyvesant when three suspects approached him and demanded he hand over $20, according to the New York Daily News.

One of the suspects – 15-year-old Tracy Clark – shot the six-year department veteran in the head with a .38-caliber handgun during an ensuing scuffle.

Det. Patterson suffered severe injuries as a result of the shooting and remained in a coma for the rest of his life.

Investigators arrested Clark and his two accomplices, Darren Crawford and Vincent Robbins, in connection with the botched robbery, the New York Daily News reported.

Robbins was 20 years old at the time, and Crawford was just 17.

Investigators said the three suspects ambushed the off-duty officer because one of them wanted to join a local basketball league and the fee to do so was $20, the New York Daily News reported.

They were all sentenced to prison on charges connected with the robbery and have all since been released.

Det. Patterson passed away at a rehabilitation center in New Jersey on April 29, the New York Daily News reported.

His exact cause of death was not immediately released.

Det. Patterson was assigned to NYPD’s 60th Precinct on Coney Island, WNBC reported.

At the time of the shooting, Det. Patterson was already the recipient of seven commendations for his outstanding law enforcement work, the New York Post reported.

His son, who is also named Troy, was just five years old when his father was shot, according to the New York Daily News.

Troy said that even though his father couldn’t respond to him, he is confident his dad knew when he was there with him.

“He gets quiet, he listens,” Troy told the New York Daily News several years ago. “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.”

Det. Patterson was promoted to the rank of detective in 2016, the New York Post reported.

“Detective Troy Patterson was a hero of New York City, who inspired hundreds of fellow Detectives to continue his courageous, important crime-fighting work,” Detectives’ Endowment Association (DEA) President Paul DiGiacomo said in a statement.

“Troy’s legacy will forever be one of service and sacrifice. The DEA will ensure he and his family are never forgotten,” DiGiacomo said.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of New York Police Department Detective Troy Patterson, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.

Rest easy, hero. We’ll hold the line from here.

Written by
Holly Matkin

Holly is a former probation and parole officer who is married to a sheriff’s deputy. She is a regular contributor to Signature Montana magazine, and has written feature articles for Distinctly Montana magazine.

View all articles
Written by Holly Matkin


Sign up to our daily newsletter so you don't miss out on the latest events surrounding law enforcement!

Follow Me

Follow us on social media and be sure to mark us as "See First."