Shooter's life short, violent

THE SHORT, SAD AND violent life of Shavod Jones ended before he could claim the chance at redemption offered by a most generous and unlikely source -- the cop who was paralyzed by his bullets.
Jones (photo inset), known on the streets as Buddha, endured a troubled childhood that ended abruptly at age 15 with his arrest for shooting then-Officer Steven McDonald in Central Park. He spent the next nine years behind bars, finally released from prison in September 1995.
Three days later, he was dead after a motorcycle accident outside his mother's Harlem apartment. His death prevented the unlikely pairing of the young ex-con and the cop as collaborators against violence, a scenario McDonald proposed.
The NYPD hero had publicly forgiven Jones, who in turn had called McDonald's home and apologized to the officer, his wife and their son.
"They became friends," recalled Jones' mother, Sharron Harris, in an interview Tuesday with the Daily News. "They talked it out, and I'm glad they got to do that. He wanted to apologize and set things straight. "If Shavod had lived, he probably would have been an aide to Detective McDonald," she continued, wiping a tear from her eye. "In the end, Shavod had a good heart."
McDonald, in a piece written for the Catholic Planet website, said Jones -- alive, imprisoned or dead -- was never too far from his thoughts.
"Shavod is with me wherever my story is told," McDonald wrote. "We have helped many people, the two of us."
A grade-school photo of Jones showed a small boy, his head in his hands and a smile across his face. But by the time of the McDonald shooting in July 1986, Jones' mother was asking her son's probation officer to put the young menace in jail.
At age 9, Jones was placed in a special-education class. In 1984, he spent 12 months at Westchester County's Hawthorne Cedar Knolls School for emotionally disturbed youths. By the summer of 1986, he was an armed assailant charged with the knifepoint robberies of two teens near Central Park.
Jones was awaiting sentencing on the robbery charges when he was arrested for firing the shots that immobilized McDonald, then a 29-year-old newlywed with a pregnant wife.
The shooter's problems continued behind bars, where he became a constant disciplinary problem denied parole three times and often held in solitary confinement.
The fatal motorcycle accident occurred on Sept. 10, 1995, as Jones was riding on the back of a bike at Madison Ave. and 114th St. while his pal popped wheelies. The bike slammed into a pair of parked cars.
McDonald got his detective shield that same year.
"Much of his life was spent suffering," McDonald said after Jones' death. "Now he is at peace and in heaven."
Jones' mother sent along condolences to the McDonald family, along with her thanks for the hero cop's efforts.
"I'm so sorry Detective McDonald passed away," she told The News. "I was thinking of going to his funeral, but it would be too much. I'm sorry. It's been so bad."

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