Stephen McQueen, 57, hasn’t had a stable home for a long time. Most recently, he started living in his car after his girlfriend died of cancer in September and he lost his job as a caretaker when the elderly man he was caring for died.
Five years ago, McQueen was the star witness in the murder of Officer Ryan Bonaminio of Riverside, California. McQueen saw the slaying in November 2010 while volunteering at the Riverside Community Center for Spiritual Living. The killer was convicted, but life hasn’t gotten easier for McQueen.
When colleagues of the fallen officer learned about McQueen’s situation this holiday season, they decided to reach out. Sgt. Debbie Foy started a collection for him so he could live in a hotel room for a few nights, KABC reported.
"All the officers I contacted and I said this is what I'm doing and they all donated money," she said.
The Riverside Police Officers Association also pitched in to pay for a few nights at a local hotel, but once word got out about McQueen’s situation, local residents donated 27 nights at the Comfort Inn for McQueen.
Though McQueen told the Riverside Press-Enterprise earlier this year that he’s on a waiting list for housing and, despite his own hardships he “(thinks) about Officer Ryan quite a bit.” To this day, McQueen still visits the site where Ryan was killed. Twice a week he goes to that staircase and places roses in a vase.
"The things that he's done for us. You can't repay that..." Foy said.