A West Bloomfield Township police officer is dead and the 50-year-old township man who police say shot him to death on Sunday, Sept. 8 and barricaded himself in his home for nearly 20 hours after the shooting was found dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head late Monday, Sept. 10.
Police Officer Patrick O’Rourke, a 39-year-old Fenton resident and a 12-year West Bloomfield police veteran, was fatally shot on Sept. 8 by 50-year-old Ricky Coley, police say, after officers responded to Coley’s home in the 4000 block of Forest Edge Lane, near Pontiac Trail and Halstead Road, around 11 p.m. on Sunday.
O’Rourke and four other officers had responded to the home after responding to reports of shots fired inside the home. Coley’s mother and brother reportedly were inside the home at the time, heard a gunshot from a bedroom in the home and called 9-1-1 after fleeing.
West Bloomfield Police Lieutenant Tim Diamond said the five responding township police officers were “immediately” met with gunfire when they entered the house. O’Rourke was shot and transported to McLaren Oakland Hospital in Pontiac, where he was pronounced dead.
Diamond said that during Sunday’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.
What followed throughout the night and well into Monday, Sept. 10 was a 20-hour standoff with Coley, who barricaded himself in the home.
The Sheriff’s Department Mobile Command Center vehicle arrived at the scene on Monday morning just moments before dozens of shots rang out. 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, Diamond said, as well as the Michigan State Police.
Nearby residents were evacuated to West Bloomfield Township Hall. As of 5:15 p.m. Monday, they had all gone to stay with family or friends, Diamond said.
According to a West Bloomfield Township Police Department press release issued Monday evening, a robot supplied by the Michigan State Police was used to enter the Forest Edge Lane home 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. A complete investigation will be conducted by the Oakland County Sheriff’s Department.
Coley apparently had “at the very minimum” semi-automatic and fully automatic weapons in the home, which was in part torn down as part of the response to the situation, according to Diamond.
Previous attempts to get Coley out of the house included tear gas and a robot, which Coley fired at, prompting the barrage of gunfire on Monday morning.
Court records show that Coley was going through a divorce, and Diamond said that, as well as other possible financial or domestic difficulties, may have been factors in the case.
A Facebook page apparently belonging to Coley states 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 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 Monday. “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 was held in front of the West Bloomfield Township Police Department at 4530 Walnut Lake Road yesterday, Tuesday, Sept. 11 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 the 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 a West Bloomfield police 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.
O’Rourke is survived by his wife, Amy, and his four children, Eileen, Mary, Andrea, and Stephen.
A funeral mass is scheduled for Friday, Sept. 14 at St. John’s Catholic Church, located at 600 N. Adelaide in Fenton, beginning at 10:30 a.m. Visitation will be from 2 to 8 p.m. today, Wednesday, Sept. 12, and 2 to 8 p.m. tomorrow, Thursday, Sept. 13 at the Highland Chapel of the Elton Black and Son Funeral Home, located at 3295 E. Highland Road in Highland Township.
A Rosary service will be held at 5 p.m. tomorrow at the funeral home, and O’Rourke will lie in state at the church on Friday from 9:30 a.m. until the time of the funeral service, according to the Elton Black website.
Staff writer Michael Shelton and Editor Tim Dmoch contributed to this report.