The greater West Bloomfield Township community — and people and businesses from both near and far — has brought its compassion and kindness to the forefront as it continues to reel from the tragic murder of a township police officer last month. The outpouring of support has been overwhelming and touching, and each passing day we hope for more closure for the family of Officer Patrick O’Rourke, the 12-year police veteran who was fatally wounded while responding to reports of shots fired at a township home. The community at large deserves praise for its response to the tragedy and the kindness it has shown the O’Rourke family in its time of need, and that kindness and help need to continue.
O’Rourke, 39, was shot on Sept. 9 by a 50-year-old West Bloomfield man in his home on Forest Edge Lane. O’Rourke was pronounced dead at an area hospital, and the gunman staged a 20-hour standoff with law enforcement that ended when he committed suicide.
In the time since this senseless tragedy, the first time a West Bloomfield police officer had been killed in the line of duty, we have been heartened by the financial support, which is measurable, and the emotional support O’Rourke’s family — his wife, Amy, and his four children, Eileen, Mary, Andrea, and Stephen — has received, which is immeasurable.
Yet both are critical, not only now as the enormous, senseless, remarkable tragedy remains fresh in the minds of the family and community, but in the days, weeks, months, and yes, years to come. There is a sense of urgency to help his family today, one month and one day after O’Rourke’s murder. We hope that urgency, and that sense of community and generosity and selflessness — the traits O’Rourke demonstrated as a sworn officer of the law — never flags or waivers toward the ones he loved.
A West Bloomfield market is selling pumpkins to get money to his young family. Restaurants from across metro Detroit have held fund-raisers. A trust fund was established. A Wixom gas station held a benefit of its own. The list goes on and on, and there are almost certainly plenty of others who have helped the O’Rourke family since that Sunday night when he was fatally wounded, others whose names we will never know — and who don’t want their names known.
It’s been a long time since we’ve seen such a united front in the area to help someone in need, and that touches us deeply, as it should everyone else.
That deluge of support for his family needs to continue, and is owed, well into the future, just as a police officer O’Rourke took an oath to support us in the community in our individual times of need.
So to West Bloomfield and the community at large, you’ve done an amazing job rallying around the O’Rourkes. And it’s just as important that the yeoman’s work you’ve started in the weeks since his death does