West Bloomfield Township police have confirmed that 50-year-old Ricky Coley, the suspect in the shooting death of township Police Officer Patrick O’Rourke, has been found dead inside a township home he had barricaded himself in since late last night.
According to a West Bloomfield Township Police Department press release, a robot supplied by the Michigan State Police was used to enter the home on Forest Edge Lane near Pontiac Trail and Halstead Road to “obtain a visual on the suspect. He was observed motionless in a bed.”
The Oakland County Sheriff’s Department Special Response Team then made entry into the home and found Coley dead, according to the release. The cause of death is undetermined at this time, and a complete investigation will be conducted by the Oakland County Sheriff’s Department.
Officer O’Rourke was shot and killed in the line of duty late last night after responding to reports of shots fired at a house in the 4000 block of Forest Edge Lane.
West Bloomfield Police Lieutenant Tim Diamond said the five responding officers were “immediately” met with gunfire when they entered the house. O’Rourke, a 12-year-veteran of the force, was shot and killed. Township police aren’t releasing details on how many times he took fire.
Paramedics were immediately called and O’Rourke was taken to McLaren Oakland Hospital in Pontiac, where he was pronounced dead.
Diamond said that during last night’s incident, officers went upstairs to a second-floor bedroom. Once they arrived at the closed bedroom door, shots were fired through the door and drywall, wounding O’Rourke. Police officers returned fire at that time, but it was not known whether Coley was wounded.
The Sheriff’s Department Mobile Command Center vehicle arrived at the scene this morning just moments before dozens of shots rang out this morning at the scene. A barrage of gunfire was heard around 8:30 a.m. and again at 8:45 a.m., including semi-automatic “machine gun-like” fire. Firefighters were also on the scene, as well as police K-9 units.
Officers from the Walled Lake, Waterford, Keego Harbor, Sylvan Lake, Bloomfield Hills and Farmington Hills were all at the scene today, Diamond said, as well as the Michigan State Police.
Nearby residents were evacuated last night to West Bloomfield Township Hall. As of 5:15 p.m., they had all gone to stay with family or friends, Diamond said.
Earlier in the day, Diamond identified the suspected barricaded gunman as Coley of West Bloomfield. Court records show that Coley is going through a divorce, and Diamond said that, as well as other possiblle financial or domestic difficulties, may have been factors in the case.
Coley apparently had “at the very minimum,” semi-automatic and fully automatic weapons in the home, which Diamond said would at least in part be torn down as part of the response to the situation.
Published photos apparently taken from a helicopter show part of the home destroyed.
Previous attempts to get Coley out of the house included tear gas and a robot, which Coley fired at, prompting a barrage of gunfire this morning.
A Facebook page apparently belonging to Coley says that he attended the North Carolina Central University School of Law from 1989 to 1991; Queens University of Charlotte in North Carolina; and Georgia Tech in Atlanta. The page says he works at CNC Holdings, LLC.
A LinkedIn page apparently for Coley also says that he worked for Ford Motor Co. as the North American plants operations manager/director; North American manager/director of vehicle logistics for Ford; and for UPS and General Motors.
The LinkedIn page also says Coley served five years between 1984 and 1989 in the U.S. Army as a second lieutenant in the infantry reserve in North Carolina, and as a Specialist 4th Class/Corporal with nuclear artillery in the U.S. Army from 1982 to 1984.
The department has made “a couple” previous visits to the home in the past in response to burglar alarms going off, Diamond said.
“We don’t know all of the details,” he said early this morning. “Obviously all of the officers involved are upset. We will not interview them in detail for a couple days. We have a funeral to prepare.”
O’Rourke was described as “a model officer and a good family man” with four children. He had spent four or five years with the department’s Surveillance and Narcotics Unit.
A candlelight vigil will be held in front of the West Bloomfield Township Police Department at 4530 Walnut Lake Road tomorrow, Tuesday, Sept. 11 at 7:45 p.m. in honor of O’Rourke. West Bloomfield Township Clerk Cathy Shaughnessy said through a press release that the Police Department will establish a fund to help O’Rourke’s family.
“We are experiencing tremendous grief over the death of Officer O’Rourke,” said West Bloomfield Township Supervisor Michele Economou Ureste in a press release. “We are joining with members of the West Bloomfield Clergy Association to honor the memory of this hero who was lost to a senseless act of violence. The entire community is invited to come together and share their grief and express their gratitude to the brave police officers and firefighters who risk lives for us every day of the year.”
Diamond said it’s the first time since he’s been with the department that an officer has been killed in the line of duty, and it is perhaps the first fatality of a West Bloomfield Township police officer while on duty in the township’s history.
A resident of a nearby gated community said the homes on Forest Edge Lane are “really big.”
Shaughnessy said police were initially called to the scene last night in response to a domestic dispute. She said the home’s occupants were safely evacuated from the home, with the exception of the gunman.
Neighbors were evacuated from the area and spent the night at Township Hall, including several children, according to Shaughnessy.
“We’re trying to make them as comfortable as we can,” she said early this morning.
UPDATED: 6:50 p.m.
This is a developing story. We’ll bring you more information as soon as we get it.
Staff writer Michael Shelton contributed to this report.