Viewers extend hotel stay for Riverside homeless man after story goes viral

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (KABC) -- A homeless man, whose testimony helped put a cop-killer behind bars, was given a hotel room to stay in for Christmas, and after his story of heroism went viral, his stay is being extended.

For the first time in a very long time, Stephen McQueen spent the night in a warm bed.

"It could not be nicer this Christmas, I'm really impressed," said McQueen.

Riverside police officers helped get the 57-year-old homeless man a four-night stay at the Comfort Inn for the holiday.

It was a gesture to thank him after he testified in the murder of Officer Ryan Bonaminio, helping to put the officer's killer away for life.

For almost two years, McQueen called a church parking lot home, where he tends a memorial for Bonaminio, but for the next month, he'll have a room of his own thanks to the generosity of the community.

Shortly after Eyewitness News aired McQueen's story, viewers took to ABC7's Facebook to post well wishes and some to offer help to pay for more days at the Comfort Inn.

The hotel confirmed his four-day stay extended for an additional 28 days.

"Oh that's great, I'll be here for New Year's, even," said a smiling McQueen. "I mean, that's a good thing."

McQueen has been homeless off and on for five years making a living by doing odd jobs, but he may not have to return to the streets when his hotel stay comes to an end as some people have offered permanent housing options.

"People have said, 'Hey, I have a trailer in my backyard, he can stay in that. I have an empty room he can stay in that' and so people are reaching out. That's amazing," said Sgt. Debbie Foy, who helped start his hotel stay.

As for McQueen - it is a new opportunity at a second chance.

"I would love to be back on my feet," he said. "It's something I always strive for everyday... just to be normal."
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